Like many local Councils across the world, Brimbank City Council has one eye on the immediate community support required in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, and one on the longer term future, with the aim of emerging stronger as part of its strategic recovery.
Brimbank has always been particularly vulnerable to a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, with pre-existing socio-economic challenges providing fertile ground for the virus to spread through our working class, multicultural and vulnerable communities.
These pre-existing vulnerabilities have been exploited by the pandemic, leading Brimbank to remain at the epi-centre of Victoria and Australia’s COVID crisis through ongoing high numbers of active and overall cases.
The pandemic may have reconfirmed the area’s challenges, but it has also re-focussed efforts of Council and State and Federal Government on the strategic imperatives needed to support the growth of Brimbank
Brimbank has had a whole-of-Council COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy in place since April which has seen Council realign and provide unprecedented essential service support to the community.
A health and wellbeing survey currently being undertaken to assess the lifestyle and behavioural impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across our community will further inform the delivery of Council’s services and advocacy for additional community support.
The survey covers the impacts on household finances, physical and mental health, access to services and communications and the results will provide insight into the needs and expectations of our community, and identify areas for increased support.
Through strong advocacy across all levels of Government, Council has already secured more than $74 million in government funding but this is only a starting point for what the community will need to help truly recover from the health, wellbeing and economic consequences of the pandemic.
A new 19 Point COVID-19 Action Plan for Response and Recovery further provides government and non-government entities with a clear pathway to partner with Council to help address the health, wellbeing and economic consequences of a prolonged and evolving pandemic.
This plan will work in concert with the recently released, longer term Leading with Vision, Transforming Brimbank Future Priorities 2050, which sets out the key projects under an ambitious Brimbank City Council plan designed to leverage current proposals, major infrastructure projects and generate unprecedented business, job, health, education and social opportunities.
Key visionary projects under the Leading with Vision, Transforming Brimbank Future Priorities 2050 include:
- Sunshine becoming Melbourne’s western CBD
- Light Rail along Ballarat Road and other key roads contributing to a more integrated transport network
- Energy Park (former Sunshine Landfills) transformed into one of the Western Region’s premium parks with potential to include a sport and recreation precinct
- Sunshine Health, Wellbeing and Education Precinct (SHWEP) recognised as a centre of excellence for health, wellbeing, education and research.
- Victoria University St Albans Campus expanded to provide greater education opportunities
- Calder Park Drive interchange upgraded to deliver a first class urban freeway environment
- Sydenham Park becoming a major tourist attraction
- Brimbank city and community producing zero net emissions
These plans both fit neatly in with the North and West Melbourne City Deal, a regional proposal for Federal Government funding to transform Melbourne’s north and west over the next two decades. Brimbank, home to over 200,000 people in Melbourne’s west, is a key player in the deal and one of 13 councils to endorse it.
These are some of the projects that can help with longer-term recovery efforts and play a part in really giving the broader Brimbank community longer-term hope for a future that capitalises on the ability to be the heart of the West and attract growth, jobs, investment and education opportunities.
Providing support to the Brimbank community to address the immediate health, economic and business needs is absolutely critical, but leveraging the longer-term opportunities in front of Brimbank like the North-West City Deal, Sunshine Priority Precinct, Sunshine Super Hub and Melbourne Airport Rail projects now take on even more importance.
The reality is the current approach to combatting the pandemic needed to be reviewed and bolstered to help mitigate and suppress the spread, and to begin developing a pathway for recovery. Providing support to the Brimbank community to address the immediate health, economic and business needs is absolutely critical, but leveraging the longer term opportunities in front of Brimbank now takes on even more importance.
Mayor of Brimbank Cr Georgina Papafotiou commented:
“Extensive planning, research and engagement has identified a pathway for Brimbank’s evolution to a future city that is ambitious while also being realistic, desirable and positive… Crucially, we have a pathway for economic and social recovery from Covid-19 by clearly articulating opportunities for future investment across the city… Council is committed to working collaboratively to leverage the coming investment to deliver positive social, economic and environmental benefits for Brimbank and the surrounding regions”
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