While the recent drop in new and active COVID-19 cases provides hope for a better future soon, there are many still doing it tough in Bendigo.
It is easy to focus on what has gone wrong, but I would like to reflect on what is going right.
There are both professional and volunteer organizations but either way they are grounded in the community.
Here at Rural Australians for Refugees, Bendigo, we are proud to work with two outstanding community organizations, Bendigo Community Health Services (BCHS) and Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services (LCMS).
Both work with Bendigonians most in need, including refugees.
The BCHS Karen hotline provides critical health information support and develops key community skills, while the LCMS community language videos and webinars provide a similar benefit.
The LCMS Friday Food Safari and Care and Food exchange provide critical support to refugee families.
Here at RAR we do what we can to support these, including through our food drive with the great support of The Good Loaf Bakery and Café where food donations can be dropped off.
Keeping any of us safe keeps all of us safer from this insidious virus.
Now Foodshare and take-away venues are working together to help us 'Love our Local' while we provide for our more needy neighbors.
Let's work together throughout to make ours a happy, safe community; the welcoming, neighborly central heart of Victoria.
John Murphy, President, Rural Australians for Refugees, Bendigo
Pain versus gain
All decision making on COVID-19 is being made by politicians and those in the public sector.
The length of any lockdown has no material effect on these decision makers as they are insulated from the economic ravages of their decisions, retaining their security of tenure and entitlements like pay, super, and workforce interactions.
I acknowledge those at the centre of the action have a difficult task.
However, the government's cure may be more deadly than the complaint if the outcome is a devastated economy with all its health and social problems.
At what point in the strategy to contain/eliminate the virus, does the state government undertake a cost benefit analysis to weigh up the consequences of the economic, social and personal damage done to the private sector and employees, against the cost of attempting to crush the virus.
The public needs to know.
COVID-19 unfortunately impacts most severely on almost 90 per cent of the workforce who are in the private sector, and it seems as if the most affected have little input, or no say in the decision-making processes.
Wider consultation and more prompt action is required to avoid a looming societal collapse.