A message from Mayor Leigh Dunscombe about Coronavirus Disease

Published on 20 March 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic is unchartered territory for us all.  As the situation unfolds, we learn more about how to reduce our risk and to stay safe. 

We continue to monitor closely the advice from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which is the lead agency for disease control. At the time of writing, there are no reported cases of Coronavirus in Murrindindi Shire. But, due to the rapidly-changing nature of COVID-19, every day presents new challenges.  At Council, as we learn more, we are implementing changes to our practices and to how we deliver our services.

We are taking steps to support the health and wellbeing of our staff, community members and visitors to the area. There are some important things you can do to protect yourself and others at this time:

  • Get the facts from those in the know.  The Department of Health and Human Services is the place to go for accurate information – see https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus for more information.
  • Stay calm. We understand that uncertainty can bring with it stress.  Good information is the best way to counter uncertainty.
  • Follow the health advice put out by the authorities, including in relation to good hygiene practices, observing social distancing and isolating yourself if you are sick or suspect you might be unwell
  • Follow the government’s advice if you are considering overseas travel.

We are all in this together. I know we are all thinking about family members who need extra support at this time.  We also need to think about your neighbours - do they have the essentials, or do they perhaps need help?

Australians have always prided themselves on being great in a crisis. We do not have a shortage of food, medicines or supplies in this country.  The panic buying we have seen in supermarkets across the country is the cause of the shortages we are seeing.  I would urge everyone to think of others in the community – including our most vulnerable community members - when tempted to stockpile goods and medicines.

Council has activated its pandemic plan and we are working to focus our resources on those services which are critical to our community – these include community safety, operations to ensure our roads, paths and tracks are safe and our customer services are resourced so we can remain in touch with our communities. 

We have taken a number of steps to keep Murrindindi Shire communities and our staff safe. This includes the decision to suspend the Mobile Library and Customer Service Van and to cancel Library programs at our Alexandra, Yea and Kinglake branches until further notice. 

The idea here is to help us implement ‘social distancing’ to help slow the spread of the COVID-19.  For non-essential activities such as library program, this is something we can implement quickly and effectively.

The State and Federal Governments have put in place a range of measures to combat COVID-19. These include a ban on all non-essential, organised gatherings of 500 or more people in open spaces and a ban on all non-essential, organised gatherings of 100 or more people in enclosed spaces.

As a result, we have postponed the Dindi Sustainable Living Expo, which was planned for Saturday 18 April, until further notice. If you are not sure if events in which you are involved are still going ahead, I’d urge you to get in touch with organisers.  We have a list of the events of which we are aware on our website – check those here.

New measures to help slow the spread of this disease are likely to be in place for some months.  Take care of yourselves, think about your neighbours and your broader community as you go about your business. We will all get through this difficult time if we heed the health advice and look after one another.

You can find out the latest news about Coronavirus and the impact on Council Services and events in our Shire on Council’s website by searching ‘coronavirus’. And don’t forget to stay informed about the Coronavirus and health advice at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus