There’s no denying it’s been a tough couple of weeks, with the grim spectre of COVID rearing its head again in Victoria.
I want to thank everyone who has done their part in staying at home over the past month and following the restrictions. Because of our collective efforts, we’ve managed to prevent a mass outbreak, save lives, and are now re-emerging from our recent lockdown.
But I think the real lesson to take away from this recent outbreak is just how important the vaccine roll-out really is, to protect our community against future outbreaks. Not only do the vaccines protect us against the strains of virus that are currently wreaking havoc around the world – but they also prevent even deadlier variants from mutating in the future.
Because whilst we try to go on with our lives in a relatively COVID-free manner, all around the world, newer, stronger and deadlier variants of the virus are mutating. We’ve seen some of them already in the form of the Delta and Kappa variants, and I know from speaking to many in the community over the past few months, how devastating these variants have been overseas, particularly in India.
Make no mistake – there are many in our community who have lost family to these strains and my heart breaks with them. The virus we’re facing now is not the same virus we faced and defeated last year.
Getting vaccinated is our only way out of this. I’ve been out over the past few weeks talking to many of the local businesses in Tarneit about the state government support that is available, and my office has been flat out helping folks out with their applications for these grants.
Now, more than ever, our local businesses need us. Now is the time to swing by your favourite café for a coffee and brekkie roll (I’m pretty partial to that combo myself!) or buy a present for your kids’ birthday from a local retailer. Every dollar goes towards helping our local businesses, often run by a family in your neighbourhood, to make it through this pandemic.
We’ve got a generous spirit in Wyndham, and now’s the time to show it. You might have noticed the Shop Local campaign I and many others are currently promoting. It’s all about drumming up support for small business. Everyone has a part to play, including me – which is why I’m steering meetings normally held in my office, out into local cafes.
I recently had the chief executive of VicHealth, Dr Sandro Demario, out in Tarneit to explore how we can encourage and deliver healthier lifestyles in Melbourne’s outer west. We chatted enthusiastically over a Tandoori Burger and Buddha Bowl at the Little Growling Café in Tarneit –which by the way were delicious!
The COVID pandemic has been tough on everyone and some more than others. I personally feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s the vaccine.
Many of us have struggled with our mental health over the past year. Please never hesitate to reach out for help if you need it. Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) are here for you.
My office is also here to help and would love to hear from you – whether it’s COVID-related or not – and can be contacted on 9916 1778. I’m also regularly talking to folks at my ‘Coffee Catch Ups’, which you can book in to by sending an email to [email protected].
In the meantime, stay safe, stay strong and if you’re eligible, please consider getting vaccinated against this deadly virus.