Bushcare Groups Recommencing from November

After a rather long break, Bushcare will be recommencing from Monday, November the 1st, 2021. We look forward to seeing you all again, being back out in the bush, working on our sites, and hearing what you have been up to during the last lockdown.

Our key consideration remains the health and safety of our community, our volunteers, and our staff. Accordingly, the Bushcare Program will recommence in line with NSW Government Public Health Orders.

• In November, 2021 – Blue Mountains City Council’s Bushcare activities will resume for fully vaccinated people and follow NSW Health Guidelines.

In December 2021 – Changes in December, 2021 will see further restrictions easing (including non-vaccinated people) as per the NSW Health Orders. More details will be sent out closer to this date.

Resumption of Bushcare activities from November 1, 2021 through to December 2021 (as per the NSW Health Orders)

From November the 1st, 2021, Bushcare will resume for fully vaccinated people only in line with NSW Health Guidelines. Proof of double vaccination must be sighted before commencing the work session (records are not kept). Staff and volunteers are required to sign in using the NSW Health QR Code system.

A COVID safe toolbox meeting will be held for all volunteers to brief on the current BMCC COVID return plan before the workday commences. The toolbox talk will inform volunteers of current restrictions and requirements. The toolbox talk will be documented and signed off by all attendees (COVID 19 Protocol, staff to sign for the volunteers).

For the month of November, no new volunteers will be accepted.

On Bushcare workdays, the following safety practices and principles will apply:

Hygiene practices

• Maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5m between volunteers and staff.
• Bushcare Officers to provide hand sanitizer/disinfectant/PPE.
• Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Masks are no longer mandatory outside.
• Maximum of 30 volunteers on a workday. Additional staff may be required to split the group to maintain safe numbers.

Cleaning of Equipment

• Volunteers bringing personal tools is encouraged; cleaning of tools will be the responsibility of the volunteer owner.
• Staff to ensure BMCC equipment is cleaned/disinfected before and after use as per current protocols.

Distribution of equipment and materials between volunteers and staff

• Volunteers will be encouraged to bring their own tools.
• Council will issue tools to volunteers by placing them on a table with one person at a time coming forward to collect.
• Herbicide applicators are to be placed on a table, with one person at a time coming forward to collect.

Provision of morning tea and food

• Whilst an important component of the social elements of Bushcare activities to reduce the risk of transmission between staff and volunteer’s morning tea breaks including food and tea and coffee for volunteers will be managed as follows;
• Volunteers are not permitted to bring food to share at Bushcare work sessions and events.
• Volunteers are to supply their own morning tea (for their consumption).

Maintaining site, WHS, and Volunteer attendance records

• Bushcare Officers only are to maintain all physical Bushcare Site record books. With Bushcare Officers only, permitted to handle the book and the pen and sign on behalf of volunteers attending. For those groups that maintain their book, the Volunteer Coordinator only handles the book and pen and will sign on behalf of the volunteers. A remark concerning ‘COVID 19 Protocol’ to be made on the signed sheet to ensure transparency of volunteers being signed for.

Volunteer self-monitoring – If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, do not attend and seek medical care early

• Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and seek medical attention. Follow the directions of your local health authority. Should any person attend a site and present with any symptoms of cold /flu, they should be directed to a COVID 19 testing facility and not be permitted to participate in any Bushcare activities until the results of the COVID test can be presented.

Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider.

• Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority, or Council on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
• National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. Therefore, they are best placed to advise what people on your site should be doing to protect themselves.

NSW Government and Signage to be displayed.

Please note the plan is subject to ongoing NSW and Federal Government advice and directives resulting from Public Health Orders which may seek the reversal of the plan’s action. NSW Health website