LAST MEETING: Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, Cr Gavin ' Spud' Jones, Cr Danita Potter, Mayor Keith Campbell, Cr Roz Frohloff and Cr Terry Fleischfresser (Absent: Cr Ros Heit) at the last council meeting before the next local government election. Photo: Laura Blackmore
LAST MEETING: Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, Cr Gavin ' Spud' Jones, Cr Danita Potter, Mayor Keith Campbell, Cr Roz Frohloff and Cr Terry Fleischfresser (Absent: Cr Ros Heit) at the last council meeting before the next local government election. Photo: Laura Blackmore

Council weighs in on how COVID-19 will affect region

AT THE last council meeting before the local government election next week, there was no surpirse the first item on the agenda was the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

After a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Kingaroy last Friday, the South Burnett Regional Council activated the Local Disaster Management Groups to respond to help guide the community during the health crisis.

During the meeting, Mayor Keith Campbell said the LDMG had risen to the challenge as council works alongside them and the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council.

Despite efficient work carried out by the group, Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff voiced her concerns for the long term effects of COVID-19 on the community at the meeting.

“We need to address the social side of this issue,” Cr Duff said.

“I think the COVID-19 long term impacts are going to be hard to manage in our communities, especially in our region because we have an ageing population.

“There are also so many events being called off.

“With all of these drastic changes, I’m concerned about the mental health of our elderly people.

“We already had suicide issues and now we have isolation issues, where people aren’t going to be out and about.”

Cr Duff also touched on the issue of businesses in the region that would suffer during the health epidemic.

“I also would like to see the economic side of things addressed,” Cr Duff said.

“I spoke with Mark Smith from Mark Smith’s Menswear in Murgon and he said yesterday he hadn’t had a customer all day and Proston was the same.

“People are tending to stay at home because they are obviously concerned about their health, but I am worried about long term ramifications.

“We just had drought and thought we were out of it with the rain but now we have something else.”

Councillor Terry Fleischfresser then echoed similar thoughts to Cr Duff in supporting the wider community.

“The greatest impact is going to be on businesses,” Cr Fleischfresser said.

“I saw a post on social media this morning that said ‘If you could do one thing positive today, it’s to support small business.

“In weeks and months to come, they are the ones who are going to feel really isolated and feel the hit financially.

“Do not panic about this as it’s worst thing we can do.

“Be responsible, stay calm and keep supporting the people of this community.”

South Burnett

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