Councils across Australia are starting to come to grips with understanding the debilitating effects of the social, economic, financial and emotional impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are contemplating what they can do to alleviate some of the stresses that are being felt in their communities. Community groups, businesses, residents, visitors and council workers alike are all struggling to manage their way through this crisis and are looking for leadership, help and support.
Councils are the closest government agencies to local communities and many individuals understandably turn to them for information and advice.
Having a clearly thought through path and objectives will be essential to navigating through the differing stages of the crisis over the next few months, each requiring practical, innovative and effective responses by councils. These responses will need to be both community facing, providing measures to support struggling local communities, as well as internally focused, ensuring that key services can be maintained or increased and understanding the emotional toll on council staff and the long-term sustainability of the council itself.
This paper provides some practical advice and examples of the types of support that can be considered during each of the different stages of the crisis. Not all of these will be applicable in every council or scenario, but we hope it will provide some food for thought on what could be achieved.
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