Council to consider COVID-19 support plan

Mount Gambier City Council will tonight consider a multi-pronged plan to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elected members and senior executives met last week to develop an action plan targeting three central pillars: the city’s economy, our people and the recovery phase.

A separate response team comprehensively reviewed council’s budget to identify potential savings to combat the widespread impact of the coronavirus.

Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said the social and economic well-being of the community was council’s top priority.

“Our community is hurting; our businesses are facing unprecedented challenges and our way of life has changed dramatically,” Mayor Martin said.

“It is heartbreaking to see so many of our businesses suffer and people out of work.

Council is fully prepared to reassess its expenditure and recalibrate its budget to keep our people safe, our economy strong and our community connected.

– City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM

Investment in jobs and skills development, convening a community leaders’ roundtable and fostering social connectedness are among the suite of initiatives.

Council will also consider committing significant resources and rolling-out additional infrastructure-related activity to stimulate the local economy.

The recovery stage includes investment in community well-being, re-booting the economy and the re-activation of spaces.

Council has established two rapid response teams, comprising elected members and senior staff, to develop and drive major initiatives.

“We are conscious of the economic hardship and the impact social isolation will have on people,” Mayor Martin said.

“This pain affects our friends and families, neighbours and colleagues; it is personal for all of us.”

Amid sweeping legislative changes giving Local Government greater flexibility, council will meet digitally three times a week to discuss urgent matters.

The plan is expected to be ratified at a special meeting tonight, when council will also consider deferring a series of pre-planned briefings to focus on the crisis.

“It is imperative Council continues providing essential services. Another important role for council is to reinforce the government’s advice on personal hygiene and social distancing,” Mayor Martin said.

“It is also our responsibility to invest heavily in the well-being of our community, now more than ever.”

Council will also establish an online platform to canvass community views, capture stories and seek feedback.

“This is a whole of community approach and we are keen to hear from as many residents as possible,” Mayor Martin said.

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