Supporting community recovery from COVID-19

Merri-bek City Council plays a central role in supporting our community through relief and recovery from an emergency.

In September 2020 we surveyed community members to learn more about the social and economic impacts of the public health emergency in our community. This consultation was facilitated through a population weighted telephone survey of 316 residents and 8 “in depth” interviews.

Analysis of this impact assessment indicates a need to focus on young people, CALD groups and those with existing vulnerabilities such as isolated older residents and those with insecure housing.

In April 2020, Council surveyed local businesses to assess the impact Covid-19 restrictions were having at that point on industry and employment. 95 per cent of local businesses reported that they suffered adverse impacts, caused by revenue loss, customer loss and forced closures. Other adverse impacts included increased costs, reduced staff and supply chain disruptions. The Boost for Business Covid-19 Program was developed in response, with a broad range of projects to address the key issues reported within that survey. Total funding of $550,000 was allocated over two grant rounds.

The information from our Second Impact Assessment is helping us to determine what support and resources are needed by the community - particularly those more vulnerable - on our journey to recovery. View the full research report.

As Victoria emerges from the public health emergency on the path to recovery, we’re now in the stages of preparing and implementing a recovery plan for our municipality that will address the following priority areas;

Financial distress: impacts for households.

Mental health and wellbeing: the mental health toll on the Merri-bek community.

Digital access and inclusion: impact of technological barriers.

Social inequalities and vulnerabilities: isolation, discrimination and family violence.

Economic impacts: the significant impacts on local businesses and economy.

A number of strategies and plans are currently being developed in alignment with the Council four-year term, these include the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan and the Children, Young People and Families Plan, both of which will have an enhanced focus on supporting the community in recovery efforts due to COVID-19.

We also invited our community to comment on Councils approach to COVID-19 recovery through the Conversations Merri-bek Web page as part of the Imagine Moreland project to develop a long-term vision for the City. These views will be considered along with wider consultation on the draft Recovery Plan.

A Draft Recovery Plan outlining priority areas and recommendations to help our community ‘build back better’ was endorsed at a 12 May 2021 Council meeting.

We invited community feedback on the Draft Plan during the public exhibition from 16 May to 5 June 2021.

Following community feedback, a final Merri-bek Recovery Plan, determining the implementation of support and resources for priority areas, was presented to Council for consideration in August 2021.

The Final Merri-bek Recovery Plan was adopted at the August 2021 Council Meeting.