The Nationals Danny O'Brien Gippsland South COVID-19 stage 2 coronavirus work from home

Country areas and small towns mustn’t be forgotten: O’Brien

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O'Brien, says country areas mustn’t be forgotten as governments and the private sector respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.

Mr O’Brien said it was critical that Gippsland residents adhere to the new business and activity restrictions and stay home unless movement is necessary to buy food and supplies or for medical appointments.

“I understand some people are concerned but we needn’t panic.  Our food and grocery stores will remain open and people will have access to the things they need through this crisis. Equally, there are some people who are not concerned enough and not listening to the instructions to stay home and limit personal interaction,” Mr O’Brien said while working from home.

“My heart goes out to those who have lost their jobs or businesses because of the restrictions.  State and Federal Governments are providing support and more information can be found at www.australia.gov.au and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Mr O’Brien said he had raised with the state government the need to ensure that Gippsland hospitals, GP clinics, funeral directors and other parts of the health sector have equitable access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

“I’m conscious there is a shortage of PPE generally across the country, indeed the world, but it’s critical our country health services aren’t left behind.  The last thing we need is for a more concentrated outbreak of COVID-19 in the country because of a lack of PPE.

“I’ve also raised concerns with the Premier’s office about people travelling to their holiday homes in places like Sandy Point and Loch Sport.  The Premier effectively endorsed this earlier in the week but it contradicts advice to stay put and places unnecessary pressure both on local supermarkets and supplies, and potentially our local hospitals, which are not geared up for holiday makers.”

Mr O’Brien said he was also cognisant of empty supermarket shelves for some products.

“The first thing is to reassure and remind Gippslanders they don’t need to be stocking up – particularly on toilet paper.  If we all just buy what we need there will be enough for everyone.

“However, I have also sought assurances from some of the supermarkets and major suppliers that stock is being distributed equitably to country and city stores.  I know there are concerns in some of our towns about country areas being placed last, but we won’t run out and you will be able to continue to get the necessities.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, working from home this week.

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