When the Coronavirus pandemic arrived earlier this year, we all quickly realised how drastically it would change the way we work and live. And it will for some time to come.
Our community and our nation have done incredibly well. People have helped and supported each other. Together we reduced the spread of the virus by doing what we needed to do and must continue doing. There has been a setback in parts of our State. It is clear that the setbacks are the result of some people not doing what they need to do to prevent the spread of the virus.
Importantly, our Governments are focused on tackling the problem in those affected areas. Frustration and anger are completely understandable, but frustration and anger will not stop the spread, only a single-minded focus on doing what needs to be done will yield results.
We need to maintain our earlier discipline in terms of hygiene and physical distancing to deliver both the best health and the best economic outcomes for our community. The fewer people with the virus, the less pressure on our health system and the more lives saved. It also enables more of our community to return to work and more of our businesses to re-open.
We will continue to encounter challenges along the way and other States will too. But we cannot devastate our economy while trying to fight the virus. Until and if a vaccine is developed, we are going to have to learn to live with this virus and keep it under control.
That’s why governments are planning the next stages and next policies to support businesses and our community.
In response to the pandemic, the Federal Government has provided $2.1 million for local projects which the Yarra Ranges Council will be responsible for allocating.
Other major projects currently underway will benefit our region, encourage business opportunities and create new jobs. This new tourism focused infrastructure will be ongoing and will provide significant employment opportunities for young people.
When the Ridge Walk project across the top of the Dandenongs, the Yarra Valley Trail, Warburton Mountain Bikes Destination and Warburton Community Recreation Precinct are all completed they will attract more tourists and create more jobs.
As well, the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway and Puffing Billy have also been funded to update their facilities and infrastructure.
We can keep our region thriving if we all continue to follow the rules and reduce the risk of Coronavirus spreading.