As the number of active coronavirus cases in Brimbank continues to climb, Brimbank City Council Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou, has reiterated Council’s calls for all residents to follow the advice of health authorities, and for the establishment of a rapid response team and joint Government and Council taskforce to respond to the growing health, safety, wellbeing and economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.
‘The numbers of coronavirus cases is incredibly concerning. Brimbank continues to be one of the municipalities at the epi-centre of Victoria and Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic crisis,’ Cr Papafotiou said.
‘We are continuing to work with and support DHHS in any way we can, but despite the best efforts of Council, community leaders, the majority of residents, State Government and DHHS, the fact is the current approach needs to be elevated and bolstered, with many residents still not doing the right thing, not staying home, not adhering to social distancing restrictions, and not wearing face masks.
‘This is well and truly Brimbank’s bushfire moment, and now with the impact of Stage 4 restrictions we need unprecedented support from government to help us combat and supress the spread, keep people home, save lives, and help our community through the economic consequences of the pandemic,’ Cr Papafotiou said.
Brimbank has also experienced some of the most significant COVID-19 clusters including in aged care and meat works sectors. This is on top of earlier clusters associated with Cedar Meats in Brooklyn, local suburbs, postcodes and schools.
‘What is happening across Brimbank is absolutely tragic. The fact is the virus is now spreading through working class, blue collar, migrant, culturally diverse and vulnerable communities, in a way that is unsustainable, unfair, and unacceptable.
‘We now have some of our most vulnerable, frail and elderly residents in highly dangerous and precarious situations. Council’s thoughts and prayers are with residents and their families during this highly distressing time.
‘As a former teacher, I also understand firsthand the severe impacts the pandemic is having on our local school communities, including teachers, students and families.
‘Brimbank’s highly exposed businesses, industries and workforces, high unemployment, youth unemployment, lower than average educational outcomes, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, poorer rates of health outcomes, and vulnerable cohorts are each now sadly contributing to the fanning of the COVID-19 flame.
‘As far as Council is concerned, now is the time for the Federal Government and State Government to partner with Council, to help us fight this before it is too late.
‘Brimbank’s Whole-of-Council COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy has been guiding Council’s work, the reallocation of resources, support and investment, to support the community during the pandemic. However we are now at crisis point. We need Whole-of-Government support from the Commonwealth and State to help us through this,’ said Cr Papafotiou.
Mayor Papafotiou reiterated Council’s calls for a Federal and State Government Partnership with Council in response to COVID-19, including through:
- Establishment of a rapid response team and Government-Council COVID-19 Taskforce; which would be responsible for formally coordinating increased resources around community education, communications, testing, health and safety measures to mitigate and supress the spread.
- Developing a Health, Wellbeing and Economic COVID-19 Response Package for Brimbank, that would provide investments towards resources, initiatives and projects that would address the socio-economic issues associated with the prolonged pandemic.
‘Many of our residents and their families have come from all over the world, and experienced many hardships and difficulties before- and many have very tough and resilient mindsets.
‘We are a proudly diverse and hardworking community, and the overwhelming majority of residents are trying to do the right thing to help us all get through this.
‘While Council acknowledges the leadership of both the Federal and State Government in response to COVID-19, including the local support that has been provided to date, the reality is that from this week we have hit a critical juncture in the pandemic.
‘The record levels of overall cases and active cases as far as Brimbank is concerned, is too high, unfair and unsustainable for our community to cope with under the current approach. More needs to be done, and it needs to be done now,’ Cr Papafotiou said.