COVID-19 update from Mayor Ryan Palmer 23 March 2020

Australia’s response to managing COVID-19 (coronavirus) is evolving and things are changing quickly as the virus continues to spread throughout communities in the Hunter region.

As always, the wellbeing of our community and staff remains our highest priority. To help limit the spread of COVID-19, we’ve made some tough decisions in line with the Government’s new measures to support social distancing.

Our libraries, including Mobile Library, closed to the public from 6pm today. We’ll continue our Homebound Delivery and Click and Collect services until further notice.

Our swimming pools and community halls have also closed from today, as has our Visitor Information Centre in Nelson Bay. Thankfully, our friendly staff are still available to help if you give them a call.

We have cancelled tomorrow night’s council meeting based on advice from the Office of Local Government with the next Ordinary Meeting scheduled for Tuesday 14 April.

All our Holiday Parks will remain open to essential travellers only. We are committed to helping limit the spread of this virus and support the Government’s restrictions on non-essential travel within Australia. We also understand that for many different reasons, travel for many people is unavoidable and these people will be welcomed and accommodated at our Holiday Parks.

More rigorous cleaning regimes have also been implemented across Holiday Parks and all Council facilities.

You can find updated information about all Council’s services at

I want you to know I understand and relate to everyone’s feelings of uncertainty. We’re in unfamiliar territory and it’s affecting all of us.

Our local tourism and business communities, and the local workers who have been impacted, are feeling COVID’s widespread effects especially hard.

In response, we have created the Port Stephens Business Support Service — an allocation of resources to ensure businesses can talk directly to someone who can help them find the right information they need to help them through this crisis.

We’re not the experts, but we do have the expertise to connect you with the most relevant and current professional advice, financial support and practical help. Call the Small Business Support Hotline on 0428 115 124 or email

Work is also underway to determine how best we can utilise the Port Stephens Business and Tourism Support Fund in our recovery from this crisis. I also want to remind you Council also has processes to assist ratepayers experiencing financial hardship.

I am more motivated by the spirit of the Port Stephens community every day — we are perhaps one of the last true communities and the way we band together in times of crises is inspiring.

I want to encourage you to continue to follow the guidelines to stay isolated as much as possible, practice good hygiene and follow NSW Health’s regular updates.

Please contact us on 4988 0255 if you have any other questions about Council’s services.

Wishing you safety and good health,