• Media release
  • COVID-19

COVID-19 statement by Mayor Bernadene Voss - 17 March

Published 17 March 2020

Port Phillip City Council takes the health of our staff, community and visitors very seriously. We are working to keep our community safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and have been closely monitoring the situation.

As you’re all aware, there have been some shortages of certain items such as toilet paper, paper towel, rice, pasta, etc. at grocery stores across Australia. We have recently received a request from Woolworths seeking permission from Council for a temporary broadening of the times in which deliveries may be made to their stores in the municipality. Council’s Local Law restricts delivery times, in essence putting in place a curfew.
Officers have since advised Woolworths that in order to assist with getting essential products to residents during this period of heightened demand, our Local Laws Unit will use its discretion not to take further enforcement action over the following two weeks given the unique situation we are currently in. We have also reached out to Coles and Aldi to offer the same consideration.

The Council meeting tomorrow night will proceed as planned; however, we will be changing the venue to the St Kilda Town Hall Auditorium to provide greater distance between people who might attend the meeting. Whilst the meeting remains open to the public, we encourage you to reconsider your attendance, particularly if you’re unwell or have been exposed to others who are unwell.

Please note that Council will consider an item of urgent business tomorrow night that would enable the community to continue participating in decision making without being physically present. This will be the first item of business considered and will be put into effect as soon as it is passed.

Microphones will not be available for public questions tomorrow night due to hygiene factors so the best way to have your question or statement heard by others will be to submit your question or statement ahead of time and have it read out by myself in the chamber. We believe this is a desirable alternative to in-person contributions considering the current situation.

Current legislation means that Council meetings are not able to be held electronically, however advocacy is occurring in this space. Our live streams of meetings will of course continue.

Council activated its Municipal Emergency Management Influenza Sub-Plan on 2 March, adapting this to cover COVID-19. We have also employed our Business Continuity Plan to ensure essential services can continue to be delivered to the Community.

Council officers from a range of departments are meeting frequently to discuss developments relating to Covid-19 and we are doing what we can to support relevant government departments in limiting the spread of the virus. We are currently taking a risk-based assessment of the various services we provide to determine any changes that might need to be made.  We will communicate those services effected over the coming days and weeks.
I recognise that these are challenging times for all of us and it’s never been more important to reach be kind to each other, our neighbours and our community and lend support where we are able. We are stronger together.