Brimbank calls for stepped up support for pandemic recovery

Brimbank Mayor Cr Georgina Papafotiou is calling on the State and Federal governments to step up support for Council’s COVID-19 community recovery plan in the light of devastating extended restrictions.

Cr Papafotiou said while understanding the importance of supporting the current restrictions amid the public health concerns in Brimbank, local businesses, families and community would continue to be heavily impacted, even as the restrictions start to ease slowly in the next few months. 

Brimbank has been struck by a number of outbreaks in industry, aged care and community with pre-existing socio-economic challenges allowing the virus to spread through our working class, multicultural and vulnerable communities.

‘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.’    

Mayor Papafotiou said while the pandemic had reconfirmed the area’s challenges, it had also re-focused efforts of Council and State and Federal Government on the strategic imperatives needed to support the growth of Brimbank

‘Brimbank City 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.

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.

Council is planning for the reopening of Council services and facilities in line with the current Government Roadmap, but will also be working to identify the additional support businesses may need in the next few months to reopen safely.

Through strong advocacy across all levels of Government, Council has secured more than $70 million in government funding but this is only a starting point for what the community will need to help truly recover.

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 take on even more importance.

A new 19 Point COVID-19 Action Plan for Response and Recovery further provides government and non-government entities with a clear pathway to partner with Council to help address the health, wellbeing and economic consequences of a prolonged and evolving pandemic.

‘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.

‘Brimbank has such potential. Our aim is to give the broader Brimbank community longer-term hope for a future that positions us as the heart of the West with the ability to attract growth, jobs, investment and education opportunities.’

For more information see Council’s 19 Point Plan for COVID Response and Recovery.