Back Brimbank call

Life in lockdown in Caroline Springs. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 213495_10

Esther Lauaki

State and federal governments need to step up support for Brimbank’s COVID-19 community recovery plan in the light of devastating extended restrictions, mayor Georgina Papafotiou says.

Cr Papafotiou last week called for more support after metropolitan Melbourne’s stage four lockdown restrictions were extended until September 28.

She said that while supporting the current restrictions amid the public health concerns in Brimbank was important, local businesses, families and communities were still heavily impacted.

Brimbank is one of the two hardest hit areas in the state with a number of outbreaks in industry, aged care and community.

“Our community has been incredibly impacted and we understand the frustrations and concerns of businesses and industry in trying to survive the consequences of restrictions as part of our collective efforts to keep our own community safe,” Cr Papafotiou said.

“We should acknowledge the work of community members and businesses to reduce the cases of coronavirus in our municipality and I ask that people continue to do the right thing despite how hard it may seem.

“As well as business and employment impacts, we have a number of education challenges including the need to ensure students in the west don’t continue to suffer disadvantage under school closures and with limited access to the tools they need to be able to study remotely.”

Cr Papafotiou said, while the pandemic had reconfirmed the area’s challenges, it had also re-focused efforts at all levels of government on the need to support the growth of Brimbank.

“Brimbank council has one eye on the immediate community support required in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, and one on the longer term future, with the aim of emerging stronger as part of its strategic recovery,” she said.

Council’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy was actioned in April providing unprecedented essential service support to the community.

Public services and facilities are set to reopen in line with the current government roadmap and council will identify additional support needed for businesses to reopen safely, Cr Papafotiou said.

She said that leveraging the longer-term opportunities such as the North-West City Deal, Sunshine Priority Precinct, Sunshine Super Hub and Melbourne Airport Rail projects in the wake of COVID-19 were more important than ever.

“We have a pathway for economic and social recovery from COVID-19 but we can’t do it alone. We need the state and federal governments to work with us to deliver positive social, economic and environmental benefits for Brimbank and the surrounding regions,” Cr Papafotiou said.