There are 27 local government areas in the electorate of Northern Victoria, representing large regional cities and small collections of towns across very diverse settings and typographies. Some rest on the fringe of metropolitan Melbourne, others in the furthest outreaches of this State.
What they all have in common is the enormous commitment of their councillors, appointed leaders and local staff to the wellbeing of their communities.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown enormous challenges in the laps of regional Victoria. Thousands and thousands of small business operators are on a financial knife-edge, residents struggle to cross borders to access work, education or essential medical services, and communities already isolated are feeling this even more under enduring restrictions.
The response of local government across my electorate to respond to the myriad of stresses and needs of their residents has been dynamic and with a huge heart. They have pivoted to the needs of their residents, ramped up services, created new service where there were gaps, providing financial and emotional support. This will need to continue through the response and recovery phases and I thank them for their diligence and commitment.