By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Greater Dandenong Council is still running services – though under ‘social distancing’ restrictions – during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mayor Jim Memeti said the council was putting in hardship measures to assist ratepayers, including freezing interest charges on unpaid rates until 30 June.
“While we are encouraging all of our residents to continue paying their rates to avoid accruing debt, we understand this may not be possible for some.”
The council was continuing to provide “essential services” like bin collections, immunisation and animal management.
Customer service centres were operating via a call centre, responding to calls on graffiti removal, potholes repair, dumped rubbish and park maintenance.
Its festivals, events and workshops have been cancelled until further notice.
“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic Council has been forced to make some modifications to its service delivery,” Cr Memeti said.
“These modifications allow us to continue working, while ensuring we are meeting current social distancing guidelines and adhering to other Australian Government measures.
“We are doing everything within our powers to ensure the impact on council services is kept to a minimum.”
The council’s Drum Theatre, libraries and Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre are closed, but working on digital online content.
On its social media pages, guided tours of current art exhibitions, interviews with theatre performers and storytime sessions for children will be offered.
Cr Memeti encouraged residents to “do the right thing” and respect social distancing guidelines.
“While our parks and open space areas remain open to the public, we ask that you do not congregate in groups and respect the social distancing guidelines of 1.5 metres.
“Greater Dandenong prides itself on being a community that works together to achieve the best possible outcomes for all. By all working together we can reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
As of early 27 March, there were 570 recorded coronavirus infections in Victoria. Three men in their seventies had died.
Three cases had been reported in Greater Dandenong, with 14 in neighbouring City of Monash, 20 in Casey, 15 in Frankston, three in Knox and six in Kingston.
More information at greaterdandenong.com and coronavirus.vic.gov.au