Updated: Oct 7
I was recently asked how Moreland can rebuild after Covid-19, and after ruminating on it for awhile I've realised two things.
Firstly. Government, especially local government, needs to make sure that it is actively offering services to help those who most need it most. Moreland Council with its range of services needs to be agile enough to meet immediate needs.
And Secondly, we have the opportunity to create a community that is kinder and fairer for the future as the global pandemic has made clear the cracks in our social democracy.
I am a huge advocate for Council run services. From maternity and early childhood services that give new parents a supportive community and environment in which to raise happy healthy children. To services for our senior citizens they keep them connected with their community, but also keep, housed, fed and safe, and the wide range of services in between. Council run services need to remain in the hands of Council, I would hate to see any Council run services privatised and if I am elected I will fight against any privatisation. We've all seen the damaging effects of government privatisation that casualise the workforce, put profit before wellbeing and that don't adequately serve the needs of local people in local communities.
Direct services isn't the only way that Council can provide support. Access and information to other community organisations is also something that Council is very good at doing. Local Council already acts as a referrer to more specialised services. These include; mental health services for young people, employment access for those seeking work and settlement services for newly arrived Australians. As we start to come out of lockdown Council will need to ensure that it is providing the guidance to these types of services in order for people to lead healthy and productive lives.
Whilst providing service is vital for Council, it's important that we also look at the manner in which Council conducts itself. The political point scoring , the finger pointing and partisan arguments truly need to stop at a local level. As an independent my aim is to work with all Councillors, regardless of party affiliation, on ideas and ways to involve the community in decisions and ultimately work with facts and the merit of ideas for the betterment of Moreland.
Lastly, the impact on local and small business has been astronomical. With some having revenues cut overnight this means that there will be business that simply won't survive. However I want to support local initiatives to make trading easier for retail, hospitality and the entertainment sector. Council needs to increase the ability for business to trade outside, on the street and in open areas in order for Covid safe measures to be observed. We've seen nationally that sport and sporting codes have enjoyed people working together in order for play to continue, the same amount of thought and work needs to be put into our entertainment and hospitality sector for those industries to also thrive. It can be done.
I want Moreland City Council to be a Council that cares about its community, to ensure that people have what they need in order to move on from the effects of lockdown. We’re a strong and diverse community of people and can be just as strong and diverse in coming up with solutions that help us all recover. I don't have all the answers, in fact no one does at this point, but I aim to listen and learn about the wide range of concerns and commit to coming up with solutions.
And in the end, we may not be rebuilding at all, but instead we might be creating the beginning of something that is better than what we've had in the past.