Mayor’s Message – Spring 2021
WORDS: Tom Tate PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
OUR City is renowned for its mateship and spirit – and we have had to draw on that in spades to get through the latest Covid-19 challenges.
The engine room of our economy – small business – has been tested like never before as operators fight to stay afloat during protracted lockdown periods and interstate uncertainty. Our airport normally welcomes around 18,000 people a day on average. Last month, it was around 1500.
The knock-on effect is enormous and I will continue to push both levels of government to ensure our businesses are given the best support possible.
Long term, we need to start to approach any domestic Covid outbreaks with a more strategic, targeted response.
I firmly believe that localised, suburb-to-suburb lockdowns are more effective than taking a blanket approach to Covid concerns. To shut down the livelihoods of around three million residents and businesses in the south-east corner each time a cluster appears is truly heart-breaking.
I accept that State health officials need to act swiftly as the virus can spread rapidly. But when the data, over a period of consecutive days, shows zero transmissions in a particular community, State health officials have to applaud that positive data and give people curtailed by the lockdown some hope.
As we look ahead, my message to the Federal Government is: Do whatever it takes to get the vaccination rate well above 75 per cent by Christmas. My message to the State Government is: Deploy a more sophisticated response to localised outbreaks so that business confidence can return to our economy.
In my view, once national vaccination rates hit 75 per cent, there should never be a reason for blanket, multi-city lockdowns to occur. Any outbreak should be rapidly identified through contact tracing and those impacted quickly isolated and managed until the cases are contained.
It is important that we all remain positive in these challenging times as people need hope and businesses need certainty. With certainty comes investment and with investment comes jobs.
As a proud Gold Coaster, I applaud every person who has rolled up their sleeve to date. Vaccination, of course, is a choice and people have their rights. From a city pride perspective, I hope people still considering vaccination take a few minutes to reflect on what it means to their family, their friends and the 66,000 small businesses who need our support right now, like never before.