March 18, 2020
Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff told Wednesday’s South Burnett Council meeting that she feared the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the local community.
“The impacts are going to be really hard to manage in our community, particularly as we have an ageing population,” she said.
“There are a lot of lonely people. All these events that have been called off, all the drastic changes … I am concerned about the mental health of a lot of our elderly people.
“We already have suicide issues and now we have got isolation where people aren’t going to be able to get out and about as they normally would.
“I think we really need to be mindful of that.”
The South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group, which is chaired by Mayor Keith Campbell, has formed a sub-group to work on key social and economic issues in conjunction with the Department of Communities.
Cr Duff said she welcomed this and believed the South Burnett was leading the way.
“I am particularly keen to see the social side of that addressed,” she said.
“And the economic side … yesterday (Murgon businessman) Mark Smith was saying that he had not had a customer all day.
“People are tending to stay at home because they are concerned about their health.
“I am worried about the long-term ramifications for our region. I think we need to certainly step up into that space.”
Mayor Campbell said Cr Duff’s concerns would be endorsed by all councillors.
“We need to take care of one another as best as we possibly can, follow instructions and hope and pray for a positive outcome somewhere along the way,” he said.
“Lives will be lost, as there are in any year with influenza. But this one is more serious.”
Cr Terry Fleischfresser said the one positive thing we could all do was support a small business.