Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
Over recent weeks, like many of you I am sure, I’ve experienced a range of feelings - from disappointment and anger to relief and pride.
It is with disappointment we find ourselves back in stage three restrictions in rural areas when largely, we have as a community done things well, and been diligent.
Anger comes from the fact that some - mainly metropolitan residents - continue to flout the laws, by not observing the social distancing restrictions, not staying at home when diagnosed positive, going to work while symptomatic and avoiding road blocks to travel to rural areas.
I am a strong supporter of increasing the fines that those who deliberately ignore the rules in place and hope that occurs.
On top of that, we also have a small section of the community that believes this a hoax – words fail me on the stupidity of these people, and they warrant no more of this column’s space.
The pride comes from how East Gippslanders, have almost to a person, been diligent and respectful in the way they have responded and observed the rules.
Of course, there is some luck we have not had an outbreak from city folk wrongly coming here, but along with that luck in achieving this outcome has been the response from locals.
Orbost and Marlo communities are the perfect example.
When we had a person come to the region pending a test that was subsequently positive, you were brilliant.
DHHS was told Monday which businesses that person had visited, but it then took four days (until Friday night) to make contact. Despite them dropping the ball, the community stayed right on top of things and never missed a beat.
No-one waited around for a call.
Businesses undertook deep cleans before official contact was made, Orbost Regional Health (with support from Bairnsdale and Latrobe Regional Health) was quick and effective in its response and those who were ‘close contacts’ fronted up for testing, and then isolated.
On any count it was a brilliant response and one that all should be proud of. The fact no positive tests were returned provided considerable relief for all.
It is this sort of action - and seeing almost every person out and about this week wearing a mask - that makes me optimistic we will stay on top of this.
Parts of our business sector will be doing it tough these coming weeks, especially those that rely on tourists, so support them where you can and continue to keep an eye out for each other.
And remember there are some in the community that cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition, so don’t assume someone without a mask is flaunting the law.
East Gippslanders, despite all we have been through this year, continue to be a shining light in the way we are going about supporting each other and dealing with what is put before us.
Let’s keep up the good work, stick together and beat this bloody thing!