I write this as COVID-19 restrictions relax across the state. Students are back at school, local businesses are re-opening their doors and people are able to travel to our wonderful part of the world again. We are ready to welcome these changes – at a safe distance, of course.
I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the people of the Yass Valley for doing their bit to flatten the curve. The global COVID-19 health crisis has been unlike anything we have seen in our generation. We have had a huge task and we must not forget that it came at a great personal and financial loss for a lot of people. Our community is a strong, resilient and compassionate community.
I want to thank each and every one of you for staying at home when we were told to do so, for adjusting the way we live and readapting our businesses to try and cope with our new ‘normal’. Thank you for continuing to support our local businesses, which have worked so hard to keep going against great odds – every takeaway coffee, meal and service has contributed to keeping our local businesses alive and our local residents in jobs.
While our restrictions are relaxing we still have an important role to play – it is vital that we continue to follow health and safety guidelines to ensure our people stay in jobs, our businesses stay open and our residents stay safe and well. As we enter winter in the Yass Valley, we need to be mindful of maintaining our physical distance and practising good personal hygiene. Even if we have the mildest of symptoms present, we should get ourselves tested – the Yass Hospital is running a free COVID-19 Clinic from 10am to 12pm weekdays.
Our Council facilities and services are reopening – Customer Service, the VIC, and the Library are back open to the public. There are modifications, restrictions and guidelines in place as the health and safety of our community members and staff continues to be our number one priority. I know how important these facilities are to the community and I’m happy we can reopen them for use but I do ask for your patience as our staff roll out these changes. There are still tight restrictions that need to be adhered to and essential processes that must be followed to allow us to reopen and stay open. Again, I direct you to Council’s website for all the latest and up-to-date COVID-19 related information and details on the impact upon facilities and services.
We have another important task to consider on Saturday, 4 July when we vote in the by-election of our Federal seat of Eden-Monaro, a traditional bellwether electorate. Ill-health has forced Labor MP Mike Kelly to resign and I wish him well on behalf of the Yass Valley Local Government Area and thank him for his past support and contribution. COVID-19 is likely to have an impact on the conduct of this by-election but it is important, perhaps more than ever, that we make our voices heard.
The Barton Highway duplication remains at the very top of our local wish list. We want our new Federal Member to fight hard to deliver the long awaited duplication of the entire length of the vital transport and commuter route. Council also has a number of shovel ready projects begging for Government funding, for example the Yass Water treatment plant upgrade, a primary school for Murrumbateman, the Yass Swimming Pool redevelopment, walking trails and other small projects to boost our local economy. I look forward to working with the new Federal Member.
Cr Rowena Abbey
Yass Valley Mayor