COVID-19: Self-care and Remaining Positive

March 27, 2020 | Category =

Today our update covers self-care, business reflection/evaluation and communication.

Self-Care is vital if you are to maintain physical and mental health over the next coming months. We know that we are operating in uncertain and difficult times. We are constantly having to deal with more people out of work, businesses having to shut their doors and uncertain if they will come out the other side of this crisis. However, it is important that we look for ways of meeting these challenges that will allow everyone to come out the other side of this crisis in one piece and ready for a new normal.

During this time of ever-increasing fear and social distancing we can try and change some of the language to help with mental health and self-care. Just because we must practice physical distancing to keep healthy and reduce the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, doesn’t stop us from finding novel and innovative ways to maintain our social interaction.

In taking care of ourselves we will be able to ensure we can support each other in this ever-changing environment. Many sections of the business community are struggling and it will take time to recover. We encourage you to do more of the small things that make a difference to your personal physical and mental health.

Here are some tips to help with self-isolation and social distancing:
  1. Move more – Get out in your garden, go for a walk or bike ride. Fresh air and sunshine will help build up your immune system. If you have to self-isolate, exercise at home indoors. You don’t need a home gym to exercise. Youtube has every form of exercise that can be done in front of your TV!
  2. Be in the moment – Meditate, do breathing exercises or do something creative that allows you to feel joy. Youtube has some fantastic channels, find a podcast or a Spotify playlist that helps you be in the moment.
  3. Tidy and organise – do things that you have been putting off because you just haven’t had the time. Make to do lists of things you can control.
  4. Stay connected – Check in on family and friends, use platforms like Skype, Zoom, Messenger and What’s App to do the face to face contact. Phone calls and emails are good but seeing the person who you are talking to is more important.
  5. Find novel ways to connect – make a time to watch the same show at the same time with a group of friends and message each other like Goggle Box: be alone together.
  6. Share highlights – find one highlight in your day and share with family and friends – you could have a theme each day.
  7. Avoid bad habits – try to minimise media consumption and numbing practices such as excessive alcohol consumption.

Stay Healthy, Remain Positive, and Get Outdoors – Safely.

COVID-19: What it means for Outdoor Recreation

March 25, 2020 | Category =

During this time of uncertainty, GSCORE recognizes that the outdoors can provide many people with a place to get away from feelings of anxiety, stress and concern.

Whilst there have been clear and direct guidelines from the government on sporting associations and indoor leisure activities such as gyms and yoga centres, the information in relation to Outdoor Recreation may be confusing, particularly for individuals that are not associated with a club.

At GSCORE we want to support our local clubs, community groups and public in accessing the most up to date information possible, so we have compiled the advice from state and national peak bodies and key members from the outdoor recreation industry. These will continue to be updated as frequently as possible, but you should refer to the relevant association’s website (listed below) for the most up to date information.

Where can I find information about the COVID-19 situation?

You can find the most up to date advice on COVID-19 on the Western Australian  Government website and the Federal Department of Health website.

Can I continue to take part in outdoor recreation?

Yes, you can continue to take part in Outdoor Recreation, and you should keep doing it. It has positive influences on mind and body. You should however follow the guidelines set out by the heath department. This includes social distancing.

  • Individuals and their family members who reside together should continue their active leisure routines while practicing social distancing, and in accordance with the laws regarding self-isolation (if required). This means parents and children can go out together (i.e. a single parent with 2 or more children; or two parents and 2 or more children; etc).
  • Individuals who live alone or don’t have anyone else to go with them can meet with one other person for the purpose of undertaking active leisure – i.e. going for a walk, run, ride. HOWEVER, it is important to practice social distancing and leave at least 1.5m between yourself and your friend.
  • Do not to leave your home if you are in self-isolation or exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Exercise common-sense when recreating outdoors. If you go to a park or reserve and there are lots of people there, choose another trail to go for a walk. If you go surfing and there are more than 2 people on your favourite surf break, find another spot to hit the water. The government will not hesitate to close down areas where people flout the law in relation to social distancing.
  • The nature of most outdoor recreation activities mean that in many situations you will be further away than the recommended 1.5m distance from others – but exercise caution at squeeze points on trails, and entry and exit from the waters edge, etc.
I’m an office holder for an outdoor recreation club, what are my obligations?
Should I participate in club activities?

No. The WA Public Health Act has now been updated. Restrictions in place now forbid organised gatherings for sporting activities, including outdoor recreation. The affected activities include “any of the following activities and whether undertaken or engaged in on a profit or not-for-profit basis: (e) a gather of two or more people, who do not ordinarily reside at the same premises, for the purpose of participation in a sporting activity together. Examples: sporting activity includes but is not limited to bike-riding, running…”

Where can I get specific advice about my recreation activity?

We recommend that you follow the specific advice of your club’s state sporting association or peak body.

GSCORE will provide more information as it is received from other associations. If you have any further enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Should I go on a long-distance hike or bike ride?

No. The WA government has now imposed restrictions on inter-regional travel. Reconsider the need to travel away from home for long periods. Please comply with the new travel restrictions, which requests Australians to avoid non-essential travel (including intrastate).

Can I go on an overnight hike on the Bibbulmun Track?

All Bibbulmun Track Huts are now closed. Walkers on the track must make arrangements to return home as soon as possible.

Can I go on an overnight ride on the Munda Biddi Trail?

All Munda Biddi Trail Huts are now closed. Cyclists on the trail must make arrangements to return home as soon as possible.

Where can I go?

Most DBCA managed national parks and reserves are currently open for use by visitors at this time, aside from some sites within parks that would normally receive high numbers of visitors. However, visitors must heed the new intraregional travel. Most recreation reserves managed by local governments are also open. There may be temporary restrictions in place, and you should seek advice at

Can I still visit Indigenous communities during the COVID-19 outbreak?

No. The safety of staff, visitors and Indigenous and other communities in and around parks is the highest priority. Indigenous communities in and around national parks and reserves may be closed to the public in recognition of the increased vulnerability of these communities.

If I need to self-isolate or quarantine, can I do this in a park campground or on a trail?

No. If you are required to self-isolate you must follow Department of Health instructions and remain self-isolated at home, in a hotel room or other accommodation even if you have no symptoms.

Can I go camping in National Parks and Reserves?

Many camp grounds are now closing. Seek advise from local land managers. The following advice applies to National Park campsites in WA:

  • Online campground bookings for Parks and Wildlife Service sites are suspended until further notice. Existing campsite bookings with a start date up to and including 31 May 2020 are being cancelled with full refunds. People with bookings will be contacted directly to arrange refunds. People are encouraged to reschedule their holiday once camping conditions return to normal.
  • People already in campgrounds must make arrangements to return home as soon as possible. The only camping exemptions are for people with no fixed address, backpackers or travellers from overseas or interstate who are unable to return home or cannot find alternative accommodation.
  • For campers remaining in situ, consider that this is an evolving situation and travel restrictions may be further tightened. You should assess your ability to be self-sustaining for an extended period of time.


COVID-19 Financial Support for Business

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GSCORE is doing it’s best to stay up to date with information and keeping you informed. We are drawing our information from a range of reliable resources. Firstly, lets deal with financial support and understanding the stimulus packages announce by the Federal Government.

Business Great Southern has broken down the Government speak into something that is digestible for those trying to navigate the minefield of meeting your financial commitments not just for your business but to keep your head above the water. Please get in touch with Business Great Southern for support and advice

They are here to help you and your business, don’t hesitate to give them a call on 98418477 or contact them via email on admin@businessgs.com.au

What support is available?

The Government hasn’t finished announcing support and stimulus packages, so the below is what we’re working with right now:

PAYG Withholding (PAYGW) Benefits for Employers


  1. Turnover less than $50 million
  2. Withholding tax from employees
  3. Business must have been established prior to 12 March 2020
  4. The business must be active.


  1. 100% of PAYGW for the period January to March 2020will be rebated back to the employer up to a maximum of $50,000
  2. A minimum payment of $10,000 applies
  3. For the period April to October 2020an additional payment equal half of the prior quarter benefit.

Nuts & Bolts:

  1. Businesses will receive the payment as an automatic credit from 28 April 2020, after lodging activity statements
  2. If the benefit exceeds the BAS obligation, the ATO will refund within 14 days
  3. There are different methods for monthly reporters but the benefit outcomes are the same
  4. Benefits are tax-free.
    Read more…
Early Access to Superannuation


  1. Be unemployed
  2. Made redundant
  3. Working hours reduced by 20% or more, or
  4. Sole trader turnover reduced by 20% or more or your business was suspended due to COVID-19.


  1. Up to $10,000 before 1 July 2020, and
  2. Up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately 3 months.

Nuts & Bolts:

  1. Apply from mid-April 2020
  2. Apply through myGov and certify your eligibility
  3. The ATO will process the application and advise your super fund to release.
  4. Make sure your super fund has your correct bank details.
    Read more…
Apprentice Support

As per the previous release – up to $21,000 subsidy at 50% of apprentice wages. Read more…

If you’re a sole trader without employees, the following is available to you: 

Increased instant asset write-off 

The Government has lifted it’s threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 for assets that are either installed or ready for first use by June 2020 Read more…

Increased accelerated income support 

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. Read more…

Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries 

At this point, tourism, agriculture and education are the industries that this fund is focused on, and although there isn’t a lot of detail, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment will work with affected industries and communities on this. Read more…

If you are a sole trader and work or income is drying up for you, getting in touch with Centrelink to see what your options are there should be your first step as we wait on more announcements from the government.

COVID-19 Business Support

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With information changing daily GSCORE is managing our tourism business support and mentoring in a 3-phase approach – inform, support and recover.

The tourism industry and local businesses are being heavily impacted, and the amount of information can be overwhelming. So, we have put together easy to access and reliable information that will assist you in navigating these challenging times. We recognise that it is difficult to stay up-to-date when so many organisations and agencies are providing you with information. Here at GSCORE we are collating that information for you so that you don’t have to navigate that minefield.

It is important to ensure that the information you are reviewing is from a reliable and reputable source. We will continue to post information that will assist you in staying informed and develop action plans to get through the next few months and be ready for when the tourists return.

Frequently Asked Question

General Information

What is the latest coronavirus advice?

You can find the most up to date advice on the Western Australian Government website and the Federal Department of Health website.

What is the current impact of the COVID-19 in the WA community?

For the latest and most up-to-date information, visit the Government of Western Australia website or the WA Department of Health website.

Information for Tourism businesses

I have a tourism business and I need financial support and advice – where can I get access to that?
  • The Small Business Development Corporation has established a COVID-19 assistance centre to provide advice and guidance on managing the impacts of COVID-19. The service can be accessed by contacting 133 140 from 8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays or visiting the small business advice website.
  • Business Great Southern is also there to supply local knowledge and support to local businesses. Tracey and Richard are there to offer support and advice to make sure you come out the other side
  • Ensure that you make contact with agencies that can immediately help with information on financial support announced by the Federal Government. You can find more information on the following sites: ATO, The Treasury.
Wanting more information how the Federal and State Governments are supporting Tourism Business?
  • Tourism Australia has more information here.
  • Tourism WA has also set up information page with up to date links to reliable sources here.
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission advice on event and travel cancellations

Information for Event Holders

Restrictions on public gatherings came into effect on 16 March.

Need Other Assistance?

Above all else look after yourselves physically and mentally, if you need support reach out you are not alone. Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Food Bank Albany.

What Next?

As we move through the initial impact of COVID-19 on our region, business will need support in addressing urgent business concerns about their operations. We will provide support in helping to build business continuity by keeping you up to date and providing assistance in identified areas of need.

Coming out the other side of this we will work with tourism businesses to recover by implementing peer support groups within industry sectors. We will provide support and training to help you get ready for when Tourism WA reboot their marketing campaigns. Making sure you are on the front foot and ready to launch.


COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response

March 20, 2020 | Category =

Our Response to COVID-19

We are a small team working across a range of program areas that involve direct contact with stakeholder organisations and members of the public. In response to COVID-19 all our staff are now working from home. You can still contact us Monday-Friday 9am-5pm on the following number: 9892 0113 or info[at]gscore.com.au.

All staff are able to access their emails, and all messages left on their office extensions are being transferred to their remote office. Please leave a voice message and they will return your call.

Our actions to date with regard to COVID-19 are to:

  • Keep staff informed about the virus
  • Cancel face to face meetings – we will now contact you via telephone or videoconferencing
  • Cancel or postpone public events
  • Adopt appropriate social distancing procedures in the workplace
  • Encourage and support staff to work from home
  • Support a staff member if he/she gets infected – honouring contracts and applying sick leave
  • Actively monitor reliable sources of information such as WA Department of Health

We will be reviewing these measures on an ongoing basis to determine whether they remain an appropriate response.

Finally, we are committed to making sure the sector is kept up to date with the latest and best information about the virus and pandemic. We are developing COVID-19 response pages for our industry groups. You can access information for:


Clubs and community groups [in development]

General Public [in development]

We encourage everyone to: Stay Healthy, Remain Positive, and Be Safe Outdoors.

Regional Trails Master Plan

December 16, 2019 | Category =
Hiking in the Stirling Ranges

Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE) has begun collating a wide range of feedback from members of the public and stakeholder groups commenting on the draft Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan. The feedback will be reviewed by the Project Management Executive Group and key land managers.

This brings to a close an important stage in enabling GSCORE to develop the Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan.

“By 2030, the Great Southern Region will provide a diverse range of quality trail experiences that showcase the region’s unique landscapes, biodiversity, geology, Aboriginal culture and settler heritage,” says GSCORE Executive Director Dr Lenore Lyons.

The Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan provides a coherent program of trail infrastructure development across the entire region over a 10-year period (2020-2029). It has been developed to guide decisions about investment in, and management of trails, and provides a vision for a future Great Southern trail network.

This project is funded by Building Better Regions Fund, and Lotterywest, with matching funding support from all eleven local governments in the Great Southern region, as well as the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), and the Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC).

Read the plan.

William Bay Infrastructure Renewal Project – William Bay National Park Trail Closures

November 26, 2019 | Category =

Park infrastructure work is being carried out in William Bay National Park.

Bibbulmun Track

Walkers should be aware of heavy vehicles when crossing William Bay Road.

There will be no access to Greens Pool along William Bay Road from 3 February 2020 and throughout the construction works. The park will be fully closed to visitors during this time period, however the Bibbulmun Track and campsite will remain open to walkers.

Walkers MUST remain on the Bibbulmun Track during this time and not use Madfish Bay Road, the Munda Biddi Trail or enter the construction site.

Munda Biddi Trail

The Munda Biddi Trail is closed for 13.2km due to William Bay Park Infrastructure Renewal. A 10.6km diversion is in place along The Heritage Rail Trail. This is a dual use trail. Riders should be aware of horses using this trail. The original route will remain closed until declared safe.

For your safety stay on the marked diversion, adhere to and follow all signage and instructions from Parks and Wildlife and other emergency staff. Riders should be aware of heavy machinery and other traffic in the area.


Construction works are expected to be completed by the end of June 2020.

For more information contact the Parks and Wildlife Service Walpole on (08) 9840 0400

GSCORE supports local MTB club members

November 19, 2019 | Category =

GSCORE and the Great Southern Sports Talent Association (GSSTA) recently supported four club members from the Albany and Denmark MTB clubs to gain their Level 1 MTB Coaching qualifications.

Level 1 coaching will enable these club members to develop junior level training programs to assist elite progression into state and national championships. Seven juniors from the Albany club compete at state and/or nationals and 1 junior from Denmark club competed at the state round in 2019.  All have strong potential but lacked access to trained coaches to assist them to achieve their potential. With 4 new Level 1 MTB coaches in the region, our juniors are going to go from strength to strength.

Trail Construction Training Course

October 27, 2019 | Category =

Training provided by world-class trail builder Nick Bowman

We are excited to be organising a Trail Construction Training Course on the 26-27 November 2019.

The course is for those with an interest in gaining entry-level employment in trails construction, as well as businesses and land managers wanting to up-skill current staff.

What’s included?

  • 2 x half-day theory sessions covering different aspects of trail planning and construction
  • 2 x half-day hands-on training at various locations
  • Lunch and morning tea provided daily
  • Opportunity to connect with trail builders in the region

The course runs from 9am – 5pm over two days (Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 November). The first half of the day focuses on theory, and the second half will be spent doing hands-on work on a number of trails.

Cost: $150pp for waged/businesses; $75pp for unwaged/students.

About the Trainer:

Nick Bowman from Destination Trails Pty Ltd. Specialising in creating trails for all ages and abilities, Nick has over 15 years’ experience as a mountain bike trail advocate and 14 years as a professional trail designer and builder. This experience, along with his time at IMBA Australia, has ensured that Nick has become an accepted expert in delivering sustainable trails and in particular, the implementation of the IMBA guidelines for trail difficulty ratings, design and development, within Australian’s unique ecosystems. Complimentary to all this expertise, Nick has the skills and talent to negotiate safely through the Australian political landscape to make sure trails can become a reality for all sectors of the community.

Places are limited. Register today.

2019 Great Southern Trail Forum Proceedings

September 23, 2019 | Category =

A report on the 2019 Great Southern Trail Forum held in Albany in July has been released. The forum, which was co-hosted by the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE), the City of Albany, and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), explored ways to make trails more inclusive.

The forum attracted over 100 participants from across the Great Southern region, representing businesses, local government, state government agencies, industry and community organisations, local trail groups and clubs, and trail users.

One of the highlights of the forum was a presentation by Matt Harrington from Yarra Ranges Shire Council on the Warburton MTB Destination project.

GSCORE Executive Director, Dr Lenore Lyons said that in addition to listening to the presentations, attendees participated in an interactive workshop that examined ways to overcome barriers to trail access, and ways to improve the mental and physical health benefits of trails.

“Forum participants identified a range of ways to overcome the access, ability and knowledge barriers the limit the community’s use of trails. Suggestions included the development of purpose-built trails to suit seniors and people with disabilities, as well as improvements in signage, maps and brochures”.

Dr Lyons said that the workshop findings will form part of the background research supporting the development of a Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan. The forum proceedings can be downloaded from the GSCORE website: 2019 Great Southern Trails Forum_Proceedings (pdf).


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