By Jackson Russell
Mitchell Shire Council has been left shocked to be included in the State Government’s lockdown of metropolitan Melbourne, says Mayor David Lowe.
Mitchell Shire had which has eight active cases, according to Department of Health and Human Services data released today, far less than the neighbouring Hume and Whittlesea council areas, but has had an increased rate of infection with nearly half of the shire’s 19 total cases currently active.
From 11.59pm tonight, council services will return to what they were in the original stage three restrictions which ended in May.
Cr Lowe said council was not consulted about being included in the new lockdown measures.
“In many ways it’s disappointing. We understand the overall picture and the most important issue is the health of our shire so we’re not anti-lockdown,” he said.
Cr Lowe added a postcode-based lockdown may be more beneficial for Mitchell Shire residents.
“We’re now in a position where, ironically, a postcode approach may have been more beneficial for the shire,” he said.
“You’ve got a situation where the north of shire is much less populated and there’s a situation where if you look at the Tooboracs of the world, they’re only a few kilometres from the boundary of another shire that isn’t locked down and are feeling disadvantaged.”
“We are going to be in conversations with the state government to improve the situation we find ourselves in.
“I’m guessing that will be in terms of selective release from lockdown. A postcode basis would help, definitely.”
Cr Lowe said he was particularly disappointed for the shire’s business owners who saw the light at the end of the tunnel but have now been thrown back into lockdown and concerned about the mental health effects the lockdown could have.
“We are particularly disappointed for our businesspeople and we are going to be talking to the state and maybe federal politicians to see what help we can get for our businesspeople to try and support them,” he said.
“We’re advocating for more mental health services and this is a case where we will need more help. This is going to depress more people and we should have some more mental health services in the shire.”
Face-to-face customer service will be available for people who are unable to access it online or over the phone.
Libraries and leisure centres will close from tomorrow, with libraries offering online borrowing and activities and leisure centres offering online classes through their Facebook pages.
Youth rooms, playgrounds, skate parks, community centres, men’s sheds and senior citizens centres will also close from tomorrow.
Residents with any concerns or looking for more information can call council on 5734 6200.