Interface Councils is calling on the Victorian Budget to prioritise long-term support for vulnerable residents in the ten outer suburban municipalities whose employment and livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19.
Interface Spokesperson and Mornington Peninsula Shire resident David Hawkins said this year’s budget will be a watershed announcement that can offer hope to over 1.6 million people living in outer Melbourne.
“It will be more relevant to people’s everyday lives than in years before. Melbourne’s growth areas have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic but they also have a primary role to play in the state’s economic recovery.
“Outer suburban areas have huge rates of rental and mortgage stress and our young people are now losing study and job opportunities because of the evolving mental health crisis.
“Residents have embraced supporting local businesses and working from home. In the upcoming State Budget we hope to see a common-sense approach to embedding positive changes to Interface areas so that the benefits of these measures can continue to be felt.
While the Federal Budget promised some positive outcomes for local communities, the group is looking to the Victorian Government to provide more direct support.
“There were some funding announcements that will have a positive impact on local economies, like the new local infrastructure projects and the road safety and transport infrastructure measures which are a step in the right direction. However, no targetted commitments to provide for social housing or redress the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on women, for example, still leaves a lot to be desired.
“Lending a hand to help residents who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 should be at the forefront and residents of Melbourne’s outer areas will wait with bated breath for the Victorian Budget sometime before December.
Interface Councils have developed a Stimulus Support Proposal that calls for small-scale infrastructure and an increase in vital social services to assist communities survive through the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has met with decision-makers in recent months who have thrown support behind the proposal.
“We recognise the importance of Local Councils chipping into the recovery effort and all of the Interface Councils are willing to increase their debt profiles to do so,” said Mr Hawkins.
Projects and initiatives will sit under four policy areas that have been developed by the group specifically to deliver local jobs in an efficient way that addresses critical concerns for residents.
As detailed in Interface Councils Stimulus Proposal, the group has requested commitments across four key areas that would deliver a boost to local and state economies over 3-36 months:
1. Servicing the most vulnerable
· Refresh key community infrastructure such as Kilmore Integrated Community Hub (Mitchell) and deliver services to residents in need.
2. Supporting local economies
· Delivering local jobs with Briars masterplan (Mornington Peninsula) because many IFCs are not eligible for the State Government’s Tourism Industry Development Fund.
3. Addressing infrastructure project shortfalls
· Support construction and fast-tracking of Wollert East Community Centre (Whittlesea)
4. Getting local priorities right
· Expedite priority local road projects (Hume) or assisting with state-led recycling measures such as changing garbage bin lids.
For more information, visit the Interface Councils Website: https://www.interfacecouncils.com.au/
Interface Councils Media Contact: Zoe Forbes via email@example.com or (03) 8317 0111