At the moment, rarely does a day go by without a conversation about the pandemic. This is because COVID-19 is not only something that impacts all of us, but is also something we are fighting together.
While we, in Georges River, are all following the same rules and restrictions set out by the NSW Government, we all have different roles to play in this fight against COVID-19.
Firstly, I thank the community for following the Public Health Orders and for coming forward for testing and vaccinations.
I also want to thank Council staff. As I am sure our community knows, staff are working incredibly hard to not only continue delivering essential services, but also to establish additional local COVID-19 testing and vaccination facilities for residents.
While Council had no input into the decision to list Georges River as a Local Government 'Area of Concern' I want to reassure our community that Council, itself, continues to advocate for Georges River. It was pleasing to see that our advocacy has helped to achieve the easing of most additional restrictions today.
Last week, the media reported on a meeting with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. This meeting was requested and attended by the Mayors of the 12 areas of concern, including myself.
Following the discussion, I personally followed up with Premier Berejiklian, requesting that additional opportunities for the 12 areas be considered as part of the State's Roadmap to Freedom.
These requests included:
. Prioritisation for targeted infrastructure investment by the State Government in current and future budgets;
. Prioritisation for the re-introduction of economic stimulus packages such as the Dine and Discover initiative; and
. Certainty for a transition to outdoor training in small groups for sporting clubs, leading into commencement of summer competitions.
The General Manager and I also continue to attend meetings with Ministers, Members of Parliament and industry groups, as well as work closely with NSW Health and the Police, to prepare the pathway for Georges River as we come out of lockdown.
As we all fulfil our different roles in the fight against the pandemic, I appreciate that many of us have had to take up additional roles, such as home-school teachers! My role is to ensure we work as a united community to come out of the pandemic stronger and more resilient. I'm focussed on advocating for resources now to fast track the things within our immediate control, like testing and vaccination, and for resources to aid our recovery as a community.
Let's continue to support one another. Please encourage and help loved ones get tested and vaccinated for their safety, and the safety of our entire community.
I congratulate the Georges River community on our consistently high testing rates and increasing vaccination rates. As I write this column, over 40 per cent of the Georges River population is fully vaccinated and almost 80 per cent have received a first dose.