Well, we're locked back inside again.
As we all do our bit to ease the burden of coronavirus on our health system by staying indoors and following the advice of our hardworking medical professionals, my thoughts turn to those who truly feel isolated at home.
Connecting as a community in the 21st century comes with its own set of challenges. Within generations, we have developed the ability to access the entire world with a mere swipe of our fingers, yet we report feeling isolated and alone.
At times during this crisis, I too have felt isolated within my own home. I have also learnt so much about the area in which I live, discovering that Brunswick is a community that is truly connected and supportive.
We believe in our neighbours, in our community, and I believe that together we will create a bright future in the face of recent darkness.
When the council has to cancel the programmes and group gatherings that contribute to community cohesion, this presents an opportunity for council to start connecting with people in more meaningful, impactful ways.
Council must become the commonplace that connects people to people, people to business and people to the services they need to live their fullest potential.
Moreland Council recently announced that it would spend 6.2 million dollars on a coronavirus relief and recovery package, a move that I support without reservation. Ultimately, I would be thrilled to ensure that this package is available to the people who need it, to the business that could benefit the most and that access is not blocked by bureaucratic red tape.
Furthermore, I would be pleased to work towards increasing the recently announced rates discount scheme. It is certainly a step in the right direction, but I strongly believe that a $50 reduction is insufficient during such difficult times for so many of our local homeowners.
While I acknowledge that raising revenue is an important function, enabling our council to support the community through valuable support services, we can help lift the stressful burden faced by those experiencing income loss by alleviating rates.
With the state government providing local government with funding to lessen the impact of coronavirus, now is a great time for council to really push its community engagement and outreach.
At the time of writing, there has been no help promised to those who have lost their jobs or businesses in the wake of coronavirus. Our local residents, our business owners and our homeowners are the lifeblood of this community, it's economy and it’s future.
If elected to council I would push for more community engagement forums and support our council in becoming a place where our residents could be supported and connected to support services. A place where funding is used appropriately, to serve the best interests of the community. A place that values every single person who rents, works or lives within its boundaries. Not just now- not just during this crisis, although urgent aid is certainly needed- but for our future and for the future generations to come.