At the halfway point of her fifth term as Member for Yan Yean, Danielle Green has identified a ‘health-led’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as a key focus for the next two years.
Ms Green believes that focus will then create a flow-on effect into other areas including infrastructure and jobs creation.
She said the outer north had been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 with some of the largest numbers of cases occurring in the north, but there had also been an economic hit.
“After Black Saturday, we always said build back better, so I think what we can do over the next two years is have a health-led recovery,” she said.
The recovery efforts would not only include the construction a new community hospital in Whittlesea, but address some of the chronic health issues of the electorate.
Through her current role as Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Ms Green said she hoped to increase participation in sport in both Mitchell Shire and the City of Whittlesea to match the electorate’s third municipality, Nillumbik Shire, which has the highest participation rate of organised sport in the state.
Ms Green said the rollout of reforms from the Royal Commission into Mental Health would be important in the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re building some new beds at the Northern Hospital because the Royal Commission identified that the north was really underdone,” she said.
“I always say that there’s still an impact community-wide from Black Saturday. So much of the community was impacted and it’s intergenerational, so we’ve got an opportunity to try and break that nexus.
“When you look at the causes of young people’s unemployment, a lot of it can be anxiety, mental health, substance abuse, if we can knock those things over, that’s the best thing that we can do to prepare young people in the 21st century.
“We know now with COVID, with climate change, it’s a very different century so we need to prepare our young people to be resilient and embrace this stuff and be healthy along the way.”
Ms Green said continuing the growth of southern Mitchell Shire was also on the agenda but took a long view that included people living and working in the area, much like a regional centre.
She said she would like to see taxpayer money used more effectively by encouraging more people to live or work in the other north, which tied back into improving the electorate’s health through greater sport participation and greater community involvement.
“I think Wallan and Beveridge in particular are the sweet spots for local to work but also for people in the north to come out to work,” she said.
“If you fundamentally change the local economy and have people working locally, you’re more efficiently using your road space and your rail assets. “So, the most effective use of taxpayers’ money is to actually use the opposite side of the train line, fill the trains that are going in the other direction, and fill the other side of the road. Then you’re less worried about the bumper to bumper cars coming back in on the Northern Highway.”