Brimbank Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou has launched Brimbank’s new COVID-19 response and recovery plan to help address the unprecedented local impacts of the unrelenting coronavirus pandemic.
Designed to clearly outline the support required from Federal and State governments to help the Brimbank community through the pandemic, the 19 Point Action Plan for COVID-19 Recovery and Response sets out front and centre Brimbank’s challenges as well as opportunities.
Mayor Papafotiou said Brimbank had pre-existing vulnerabilities which the COVID-19 pandemic was exploiting, leading Brimbank to remain at the epicentre of Victoria and Australia’s COVID crisis through ongoing high numbers of active and overall cases.
‘Brimbank has always been particularly vulnerable to a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, with our pre-existing socio-economic challenges unfortunately providing fertile ground for the virus to spread through our working class, multicultural and vulnerable communities,’ Cr Papafotiou said.
‘Council has been working in partnership with all relevant Federal Government and State Government departments including the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local service providers, but the reality is the current approach to combatting this invisible enemy needs to be reviewed and bolstered to help mitigate and suppress the spread, and to begin developing a pathway for recovery.
Cr Papafotiou said Council recognised Stage 4 restrictions were vital to help protect the community from COVID-19, but they also compounded existing socio-economic issues across the community on top of the Stage 3 extended lockdown.
Brimbank’s new 19 Point COVID-19 Action Plan for Response and Recovery provides government and non-government entities with a starting point and a pathway to partner with Council to help address the health, wellbeing and economic consequences of a prolonged and evolving pandemic. The Plan recommendations include:
- Establishment of a Joint Government-Council COVID-19 Brimbank Taskforce
- A Brimbank COVID-19 Health, Wellbeing and Economic COVID-19 Package
- Health and Wellbeing Package
- Rapid Response Teams
- Increased and ongoing resources, testing and communications, including bolstered CALD Community Support
- A Community Resilience and Fairness Response
- Economic Package
- Sunshine Priority Precinct, Super Hub and Airport Rail
- St Albans Health and Wellbeing Hub (as a COVID-19 Support and Recovery Hub for Melbourne’s West)
- Shovel Ready Girls and Women’s Sport and Recreation Projects
- Shovel Ready Road and Transport Projects
- Shovel Ready Open Space, Walking, Cycling and Waterway Projects
- Brimbank COVID-19 Business Response and Recovery Taskforce
- Extension and expansion of Federal and State support for businesses and workers, including JobKeeper, Job Seeker, Business Support Fund, and Working for Victoria.
- Skill, Education and Learning Pathways
- Reinvigorating and growing local manufacturing
- Integrated Transport Strategy for Melbourne’s West
- Environmental Equity Response
- Brimbank City Council Support
Brimbank has had a whole-of-Council COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy in place since April which has seen Council realign and provide unprecedented essential service support to the community.
Cr Papafotiou said combined with increased investment and support from the State and Federal governments, Council was doing more than ever before, but this was simply not enough.
‘Council has welcomed the over $70 million in government funding we have helped secure but we know that this is only a starting point for what our community will need to help truly recover from the health, wellbeing and economic consequences of this pandemic.
‘Providing support to the Brimbank community to address the immediate health, economic and business needs is absolutely critical, but leveraging the longer-term opportunities in front of Brimbank like the North-West City Deal, Sunshine Priority Precinct, Sunshine Super Hub and Melbourne Airport Rail projects now takes on even more importance.
‘These are some of the projects that can help us with longer-term recovery efforts and play a part in really giving the broader Brimbank community longer-term hope for a future that capitalises on the ability to be the heart of the West and attract growth, jobs, investment and education opportunities,’ Cr Papafotiou said.
“I look forward to working with all across our community to help us overcome this pandemic, build support and understanding for this new 19 Point Plan, and advocate for the investments we will need to rebuild a solid future for our community.’