UPDATE 6 - COVID-19 (Novel coronavirus)
Media Statement from Mayor Keith Campbell
Firstly I would like to acknowledge that this is unprecedented times for our current generation. The challenges faced by our community will continue to evolve and I would like to acknowledge the people in our community who will be heavily impacted by the changes announced by the Australian Government on the weekend. Every person in our region will be, in some way, affected whether that’s through their day to day life or through the impact to our local economy.
Today the South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) has moved to activation with an official ‘Stand Up’ status. This will ensure that Queensland Health are provided support and the continuity of services to our community at a local level. The activation of the LDMG will also create a coordinated response to the emerging challenges across human, social and our economy. It is a priority for the LDMG to look after the vulnerable members of our community and lessen the impact on our society as much as possible.
Yesterday the Human & Social and Economic Sub Group of the LDMG met with service providers and local community organisations to coordinate what support they can currently provide, and obtain an understanding of what assistance is required over the short and long term. We see it as absolutely critical that we engage with our local support groups and industry to ensure that all government agencies understand the challenges at the coal face of our community.
Key messages for our community include:
- For any individuals or businesses who have been impacted by restrictions, including loss of employment, reduced hours, or any other financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a range of new and updated payments that you may be eligible for during this time. Impacted residents are encouraged to contact Services Australia (formally known as Centrelink) via the Services Australia website or visit your MYGOV account. I would strongly encourage all people under financial pressure to seek advice and assistance at your earliest opportunity. I would like to acknowledge that Services Australia locally will be inundated with enquiries at their shopfront, and we ask, on everyone’s behalf, for patience and understanding.
- The Department of Communities has established a Community Recovery hotline. This hotline has been put in place for Queenslanders who are required to self-isolate and may need social and emotional telephone support. It is also for people that are in home quarantine and who have no other support mechanisms. The number to call is 1800 173 349. I would also acknowledge that the Red Cross has established a community support service for those requiring regular welfare checks and people may register by calling the hotline.
- For further information, assistance and important links I encourage you to stay in touch with Council’s website at www.southburnett.qld.gov.au. This information will be updated as information is released.
- For those who receive aged or special care services please contact your service providers and they will refer you to the appropriate person for support during this time. We understand that protocols have been introduced in some services to reduce the risk to vulnerable people in our community.
- For those that can, please support your local businesses. Now is the time to do this. Every little bit will assist these businesses at this time. I encourage you to buy local, get your hair cut, buy a coffee or buy a take away meal if you can.
As more information becomes available to the Human & Social and Economic Sub Group further updates will be provided, this Sub Group will meet on a weekly basis.
I want to reconfirm with the community that there has only been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the South Burnett. All schools in our region remain open. I want to acknowledge the teamwork and cooperation of all of our government agencies and community groups in working together to provide the best response we possibly can for our local community.
Lastly, I want to thank our community for their continual support that has been provided and will be needed over the coming months. I would ask that you keep in contact with friends, family and neighbors over the coming weeks to ensure their well being. I would strongly encourage any person that needs assistance, for any reason, to contact the relevant government agencies, Australian Red Cross, or Council for support.