BENDIGO'S incoming mayor says her council's priority will be rebuilding the economy to deal with both COVID-19 and biodiversity breakdown.
Jennifer Alden has also highlighted the importance of community health and well-being in the fallout from the pandemic.
"That's front of mind as the pandemic has been playing out, particularly for mental health," the doctor of public health said.
"Beyond that, I have had a long-term interest in [dealing with] those inequalities that have certainly been aggravated by COVID. There are people in our community who are not doing so well."
Cr Alden and her new deputy Andrea Metcalf will officially take the reins of the City of Greater Bendigo's council on Thursday night as the city continues to recover from twin health and economic crises.
Role for council in economic rebuild: Alden
Job numbers are beginning to climb again in greater Bendigo following the second lockdown, when they reached a crisis-low point of 45,360, figures from economic consultancy REMPLAN show.
The city's economic output has also begun to climb after five straight months of declines but is still down on pre-pandemic levels, according to the consultancy's latest available figures.
"We do have a role to play, perhaps in reviewing our financial supports closely as we get a really clear picture (of evolving economic circumstances)," Cr Alden said.
The mayor-elect left the door open to a mid-financial year review of the council's budget, which was finalised at the height of the pandemic and included $7.8 million in support for businesses and the community.
Cr Alden said local government was well placed to help during the pandemic because it was so close to the people on the ground.
"We've seen a bit of that in the volunteer efforts on things like food security with Bendigo Foodshare, so that people can pull out all the stops when there is increased need in that area," she said.
Cr Alden envisioned a strong role for council in helping other levels of government deliver COVID-19 support, including the mammoth $5 billion social housing promise by the state announced over the weekend.
It is one of several policies she said would tie into work in what the council has previously warned is a growing affordability problem.
Environmental action needed: Alden
The council is also planning to refresh its environment strategy in the coming 12 months, which Cr Alden said would encourage people to rebuild with sustainability in mind.
She last year led a push on council she said was equivalent to the climate change emergency declarations that many local governments had declared in the face of global warming.
"That was to note the urgency and need for action to address the breakdown in the climate and biodiversity," she said.
"There's a lot of things that have been put in place since then and I'm very proud to say we were very active in the last term of council."
Mayor-elect taking new role one year at a time
Cr Alden and her incoming deputy were both elected to the council in 2016.
This will be Cr Alden's first year-long term as mayor. She said it was too early to tell if she would make a bid next year.
"It's extremely early days," she said.
Bendigo councils have generally elected mayors for a year at a time but made an exception last term by choosing Margaret O'Rourke to lead it four times in a row.
Deputy commits to economic and environmental focus
Incoming deputy mayor Andrea Metcalf previously expressed an interest in the mayoral position and said she decided to put her hand up for her new role position when Cr Alden was elected to the top-spot.
"Mayor-elect Jen Alden and I have worked very well in the past," she said.
"When Jen became mayor-elect I thought we could have a decent working relationship, so I put my hand up to be deputy mayor."
Cr Metcalf said her priorities were also the COVID-19 rebuild and the environment, with a particular focus on the closure of the Eaglehawk Landfill.
That shutdown is expected in the next few years and the council wants to move to a zero waste economy.
The council recently called out for community groups that could help fill the void left by reusing or recycling goods that would otherwise go to landfill.
Cr Metcalf said many had sent in expressions of interest to help create a zero waste "circular economy".
"I would expect that we would have some ideas about where we are moving to in the next 12 months," she said.
"We need to move because it is not going to be a quick process to set up something new."