Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has called on the Andrews Government to prioritise local people in the making of emergency care packs to assist those isolating as a result of COVID-19.
Mr Walsh is also calling for an expansion of the care packs which are presently only being distributed to people who are in mandatory self-isolation and who have no one else to assist them.
“There is a great opportunity here for the government to help keep local people in local jobs, while ensuring the most vulnerable are supported,” Mr Walsh said.
“I am concerned that now the government is instructing people over the age of 70 not to leave home, there are people across our community who will need a greater level of assistance.
“There are many people who require support who are not registered to receive home and community care services.
“There is an opportunity for state government to subcontract local restaurants and cafes which have been forced to close to make meals for people.
“If this work could be done locally, more pubs, restaurants and cafes would be able to keep staff employed through this very difficult time.”
Mr Walsh said the expansion of services could be funded through the $500 million Working for Victorians fund which aims to match displaced workers with opportunities to be employed managing the pandemic and supporting the community.
“At present Foodbank is making all of the packs and distributing them from a central point in Melbourne, however because supermarkets have been struggling to keep up with demand, Foodbank has been unable to source enough food to supply their regular network of charities, putting additional pressure on vulnerable people,” Mr Walsh said.
“There obviously needs to be oversight and coordination but our own community networks tend to work far better than centralised government control from an office in Melbourne.”