Extraordinary times during COVID-19

Reading a Newspaper

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Over the last 8 weeks we’ve experienced extraordinary changes in our way of life as result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Thank you to everyone in our community for the effort and sacrifices being made to comply with restrictions imposed on daily activities to stop the spread of the disease. I particularly want to pay tribute to our emergency services workers, nurses, doctors, paramedics and medical researchers. As a community, we’re indebted to them for their courage and service.

In Victoria, almost 1,500 people have tested positive to coronavirus, with 22 of those residing in the Yarra Ranges. Tragically, we have lost 18 Victorians to the virus, and my sympathies are extended to their families.

Local businesses have been hit hard as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, many have closed their doors, whilst others have told me that trade is down as much as 75%. Nevertheless, our small businesses are resilient and it’s amazing to see how they have adapted to keep trading and save their employees’ jobs. Last week I spoke with local small businesses via video conference for the Yarra Valley Business COVID-19 Forum, updating them about my efforts to have the $10,000 Business Support Fund expanded to all businesses across Victoria. Now, more than ever, local businesses need our support.

As the Prime Minister announced, it’s time for restrictions to steadily ease and for businesses to reopen. While the current restrictions remain in place, Federal Treasury estimates we will see close to a $4 billion per week reduction in economic activity from a combination of reduced workforce participation, productivity, and consumption.

This week, I will be sitting on the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Andrews Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We’ll question the Premier, Ministers, Chief Health Officer and key stakeholders about measures put in place to stem this health crisis and support Victoria’s economy. So that I can ask the questions you want answered about the State’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, have your say on my website: www.BridgetVallence.com.au/have-your-say.

Vale Don Parsons. I was deeply saddened to hear of the recent passing of Don Parsons, President of the Lilydale RSL Sub Branch. My heartfelt condolences go to his family and our local RSL community. Don was a true community leader who served his country and our community with distinction. Don was a wonderful friend to me and many others, and he will be sorely missed.