Russell Northe MLA, Member of Morwell – June 2020

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Russell Northe
Russell Northe at the Boolarra strat og the Rail Trail.

The impact of the Coronavirus is being felt worldwide and no-one has been immune, everyone has been affected in one way, shape or form. Now more than ever Latrobe Valley and Gippsland residents need to stick together, look out for one another and support each other including our local businesses!!
It’s difficult to know what to write in this article, because by the time you are reading this month’s edition of Boolarra Link so much will have evolved with COVID-19. These are unprecedented, unfamiliar and uncertain times for individuals, families, employees, employers, organisations and communities. There are so many valid concerns, issues and questions that have arisen and people are generally trying to do their best in the most difficult of situations. But the reality is people have been terribly impacted and people are hurting and we have to provide as much support and assistance to those same persons. We have experienced many challenges in the Latrobe Valley over previous years, and we are a resilient bunch who can come out the other side positively, but it will take time and it will take strength and good decision-making. For further information on COVID-19 including supports and assistance that are available please see the following website: https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
With the easing of some restrictions, it is important now more than ever to support local attractions, events and businesses when and where we can and within the rules. Small businesses make an enormous contribution to the economy and to our community. The Boolarra community has a number of businesses, clubs and organisations who are reliant on loyal customers and patrons to support them. Unfortunately in person contact has not been possible in a number of cases and it has been terrific to observe some of the innovation that has occurred in this space. Now more than ever those same businesses, clubs and organisations will need our support going forward and I’m sure the wider Boolarra and District community will do its bit in the recovery phase.
During the COVID-19 crisis it has been interesting to observe the increase in persons undertaking exercise either by way of walking, jogging or riding and indeed many dogs will be fitter than they have ever been. Local attractions such as Morwell National Park and the Grand Ridge Rail Trail have been well utilised in previous weeks. I must say I have been able to sneak in a walk or three on the Rail Trail in recent times, and what a wonderful tranquil space it is. National volunteer week is held in May and upon my walks I often reflect upon the volunteerism of those who help to maintain the Rail Trail and who also support the many other organisations in our community. There are an army of volunteers in Boolarra and District who willingly offer their time and effort to make our community a better place and for this we say thank you! In closing, these extraordinary times call for extraordinary care and generosity for those around us. Call up or check in on family, friends and neighbours and make sure they are okay. Support local businesses, where we can they are going to need our support. And just as importantly, look after you during this period of time. Take care everyone.