26 March 2020
During the bushfire tragedy that occurred over the recent summer period our community was resilient, generous and supported each other. We were ready to help and reach out to those who needed a helping hand in the face of this disaster. This is what identifies us as Australians. As a community, we need to pause and find this strength again to protect all residents, especially the most vulnerable, and overcome the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it starts to impact every one of us in our City.
Like the rest of Australia, Burnside Council has been preparing itself for trying and challenging days ahead. In these uncertain times, we all have important roles to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19 to protect ourselves and our fellow community members.
Everyday life has become harder for us all and although the precautions may seem extreme, they are necessary. The COVID-19 emergency will test us like never before and it will take a long time before we are able to go about our ‘old and routine’ lives.
In line with the recent communications from our CEO, Federal and State governments, I remind all of the imperative requirement to undertake regular and thorough handwashing with soap and to maintain social distancing. Please follow the rules about social gatherings, at home and in public parks and for those who require it, observing periods of self-isolation. I thank all of you for your diligence in helping to slow the spread of the virus and for your actions to date.
Burnside Council has a plan in place to ensure that crucial services can still be delivered to the community and in particular, to support residents who may already be socially isolated, while protecting the health of our community and workers. Our plan includes how we care for our staff and how we prioritise our services so that those in the community with the more critical needs are cared for as a priority and that core services, such as waste management, can be maintained.
As many of you are now aware, the Civic Centre, Library and other Community Centres were closed last week. Our staff have been creative and innovative to ensure we maintain as many services as we realistically can, considering the circumstances. They are now delivering our services in different ways. Casual staff who would have been working in functions that have been cancelled are helping to provide essential services for our community, many replacing volunteers who we have tried to protect and keep safe. We have separated work teams and spread out workstations to comply with social distancing rules and undertaken increased cleaning of council facilities.
On a personal note, I understand how our community is feeling right now. We’ve seen businesses close their doors, people lose their jobs, and much-loved and treasured community facilities close.
I can’t go swimming or to the gym, but I can walk along and reflect at a quiet place. I can read, write, compose, edit, explore the internet and talk to friends on the phone. I can even write a good old fashioned letter! I will remain positive, and be sensible to keep my distance.
I too miss ‘being up close and personal’ with my community. I too am concerned at the mounting job losses, and the worrying potential of illness, loneliness and other health issues.
My overwhelming message to you all is to be kind to each other…not ‘random acts of kindness’ but regular and deliberate ones!
I ask all of you to show kindness and community spirit, stay strong and support one another. If you are feeling lonely and would like someone to talk to please call us on 83664176. I am also happy to talk with you about any matter on