PM SALUTES SHEPPARTON
COMMUNITY’S COVID-19 RESPONSE REMARKABLE, MORRISON TELLS LOCAL LEADERS
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken part in a 40-minute Zoom meeting with Goulburn Valley community leaders, to hear first-hand how the city responded to its COVID-19 outbreak where a third of the population was placed in mandatory quarantine.
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe, GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp and representatives from GV Cares, FoodShare, Rumbalara and others explained how the workforce was decimated, supply chains were impacted and families faced going without basic essentials.
The meeting was organised and chaired by Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum.
Mr Morrison said the response, including from Shepparton’s multicultural community, was remarkable.
‘‘You are your own army, your own community, you understand the needs of your community better than anyone outside and it is just wonderful to hear how quickly that turned around, and how tailored it was,’’ he said.
Mr Morrison received an update from Rumbalara chief executive Felicia Dean on the vaccination rollout in the indigenous community, who told the Prime Minister vaccinations could be done quicker if they had more staff.
Mr Sharp said while supply and hesitancy were issues early on, the vaccination program was going well.
Mr Morrison said while Australia was not through the pandemic yet, as the push to get people vaccinated continued, the story of Shepparton was one of hope.
‘‘It just gives people hope and confidence,’’ he said.
Mr Morrison was also enthused by news of ‘‘Jabba the bus’’, a newly-launched mobile service set to reach people who couldn’t get to a vaccination hub.
‘‘The combination of pharmacists, GPs, state hubs and Jabba the bus I think gets that job done,’’ he said.
Lisa McKenzie, executive officer of the Lighthouse Project which started GV Cares as part of the overall community response, told the Prime Minister the effort highlighted the strength of the Goulburn Valley community.
She said people who might have felt they were on the fringes realised how much they were part of the community and cared for by the community. ‘‘They said they felt seen and acknowledged and they felt differently about their community now realising that so many people care,’’ she said.
Mr Morrison stayed longer than expected on the call and said he was impressed with the stories of generosity and community spirit.
‘‘What I like about what I have heard today and it will be different in every community, but the ingredients are still the same, and those ingredients are on this call with me, it is people who care in their community and who connect with each other and they just get on with it,’’ he said.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN ARMY, YOUR OWN COMMUNITY, YOU UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS OF YOUR COMMUNITY BETTER THAN ANYONE OUTSIDE . . . — SCOTT MORRISON