JULIE Eisenbise has given up trying to count the number of phone calls she has made to South Gippsland business associations, operators and other community members in the last couple of weeks.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s administrator chair and her fellow administrators, Rick Brown and Christian Zahra, have made scores of calls as they check in to see how the community is coping with the coronavirus pandemic and how it is preparing for the recovery phase.
Ms Eisenbise said it was important for council to know how the local economy was tracking.
“When this is over, we need to be able to fire up quickly, to have projects ready to roll,” she said.
“We want businesses to be ready to roll and when we touch base, they realise we haven’t forgotten about them.”
The calls have also uncovered some good news stories such as ViPlus Dairy’s generous donation of 50,000 face masks to be distributed to local frontline health and emergency services.
Korumburra Business Association (KBA) president Noelene Cosson welcomed the administrators’ calls as a reminder to business operators about council’s role during the crisis.
“The shire is not necessarily people’s first port of call,” Ms Cosson said.
“The administrators are addressing this in a very sensible way. They have business heads and I have faith in them.”
Council adopted a $2 million COVID-19 community support package as well as a coronavirus-specific rates and charges hardship policy last week. It has also launched a website to promote businesses which have adapted and are continuing to operate through the pandemic.
Ms Cosson said KBA was also keeping in touch with its members and ensuring they had information available about support services.
Ms Eisenbise said the administrators would continue to work the phones, reaching out to community groups, larger sporting bodies, senior citizens clubs and service clubs.