Loddon Shire Mayoral Column 18 May 2020
Published on 18 May 2020
Cautious steps out of lockdown
I’m sure, like me, you welcomed the news from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of a gradual easing of restrictions as the spread of COVID-19 slows. For weeks there have only been four reasons to be out: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home. Now there is a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family – with a maximum gathering of up to ten outdoors and up to five visitors in your home.
While this is a welcome relief, it also needs to be approached with caution since by staying at home and limiting contact with other people, we can protect the elderly, the at-risk, and our healthcare workers and each other. Vulnerable people should still continue to limit the contact they have with others.
However, we are now able to take part in more outdoor recreation, including fishing, golf, walking groups or hiking – provided physical distancing is maintained. The restrictions on numbers attending weddings or funerals have also been slightly eased. Overall the message remains, the same: if you can stay at home - you must stay at home.
The COVIDSafe app is part of the government’s strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19. Having confidence we can find and contain outbreaks quickly will mean governments can ease restrictions while still keeping Australians safe. For more information and to download the app go to: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app.
The current State of Emergency in Victoria has been extended until 31 May 2020.
Loddon Shire COVID-19 updates
A Community Contacts list is available for all residents that will be a handy reference to keep. It includes contact details, addresses and opening hours of all services that anyone living in Loddon Shire might need to find. Services include medical clinics, doctors and pharmacies, health related help, financial services, food support and lists of Neighbourhood Houses.
The list is being delivered to all households in Loddon Shire and is also available to download from our Health and Wellbeing page on the website https://www.loddon.vic.gov.au/For-residents/Health-and-wellbeing/COVID-19.
Works around the Shire
Our Works Department staff continue to provide maintenance services across the Shire throughout this time of COVID – 19.
The Townscape Services Team have been busy in our townships controlling broadleaf weeds, garden bed maintenance, spraying and cleaning drains, tree planting and tree maintenance along with small and large area mowing.
Upskilling young Victorian farmers
Young farmers across Victoria are encouraged to apply for the Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarships which allows successful applicants to access study and training, as well as invest in on-farm initiatives and further professional development.
The scholarships of up to $10,000 support training and study in areas such as business and risk management, genetics and pasture management development. At the completion of their studies, recipients receive a further $5,000 to invest in professional development and business planning or on-farm practices, equipment and technology.
This is an opportunity for the next generation of Victorian farmers to expand their skills, knowledge and agricultural expertise. To find out more about the program and to apply for a scholarship, visit vic.gov.au/youngfarmers. Applications close on Sunday 14 June.
Monitor your farm business performance
Sheep and beef producers are invited to participate in the Victorian Livestock Farm Monitor Project (LFMP). The project, which has been collecting detailed physical and financial farm information from producers for fifty years, is an opportunity for farmers to gain a thorough and independent report on their farm’s performance.
Participating producers receive an annual individualised report with graphs and data from the reporting year. This information may be used for such things as obtaining or extending loans and making business decisions.
Data collected includes farm income and costs, trading and breeding details, feed, fertiliser and labour input and farm asset and liabilities. There is no cost for participants, and all information is treated as strictly confidential.
Previous reports are available on the Agriculture Victoria website agriculture.vic.gov.au/livestockfarmmonitor. For further information, please contact Sam Henty on 0430 482 443 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get to know your recycling
During the current restrictions, large numbers of people working from home has resulted in increased household waste and decreased business waste. Unfortunately this means more contamination in kerbside recycling which increases costs to Council and therefore the community.
As mentioned in previous Mayoral Columns, people in Loddon are generally good recyclers, however contamination disrupts the ability of Council to reduce waste and achieve more value from our resources.
The most common contaminants in kerbside recycling are food scraps, soft plastics, clothing and polystyrene. It is also vitally important that recycling is not put inside plastic bags but is placed loose into the bin.
Other items which don’t belong in the kerbside recycling are batteries, polystyrene, coffee cups, e-waste, tissues and wipes.
Sustainability Victoria has a great website with a tool to show you what can and can’t be recycled. It also includes tips on how to make sure items are ‘recycle ready’ and how to recycle things that can’t go in your kerbside bin https://www.recycling.vic.gov.au/.
By getting to know your recycling, you can make sure it doesn’t end up in landfill.
National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week, taking place from Monday 18 May to Sunday 24 May, is an opportunity to acknowledge and thank all of our volunteers for their outstanding contribution to our community.
This year, Loddon Shire will be celebrating our volunteers with a number of online activities including guest speaker Helen Yorston, who will give volunteer managers tips on how to retain and engage volunteers during isolation.
Our Loddon Visitor Information Centre volunteers will be treated to a familiarisation tour, visiting venues in the north of the Shire, once restrictions are lifted.
Throughout this week, we can all put our hands up and thank our volunteers by waving a special smile of appreciation from home. Upload your wave to social media with the hashtags #waveforvolunteers, #VolunteeringLoddonValley.
Online Cuppa and Chat
Victorian Rural Women’s Network invite people to host or attend a virtual morning or afternoon tea, after-work drinks or another form of online catch-up, in order to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
Each year, the Country Cuppas are a relaxed and comforting environment for participants to connect and share ideas and experiences. Adapting to the virtual events will be a way to support rural women during physical distancing restrictions and also great for those who live in isolated areas.
Virtual Country Cuppas will be held from 23 May to 31 May. Hosts may choose any video conferencing platform and choose any date and time during that period. If you would like to host an event, which includes a free Zoom training webinar, visit the Victorian Rural Women’s Network website: https://extensionaus.com.au/VRWNetwork/home to register or for more details.