Colac Otway Shire calls for tough measures to stop the spread
July 27, 2020

Colac Otway Shire Mayor Jason Schram has praised the Colac community for its proactive response to Colac’s COVID crisis but says Stage 3 Restrictions must be introduced before the spread escalates further.

“If the government isn’t ready to lock down the whole state then based on the rising number of cases for our small population, at least allow Colac Otway to enforce Stage 3 Restrictions for schools and nursing homes to protect our community,” Cr Schram said.

“We have had a Year 12 student and a Year 1 child test positive; Colac is a small tight-knit community with family, work, school and social connections, and the potential for the spread across all schools is major concern.

“Some schools are closed and two kindergartens closed last week after family members of children attending tested positive. However, at the moment our educational facilities are following the rules and waiting until there is a case before they close.

“The government must take this seriously and change the rules to save our community, including mandatory face masks which we ask the government to provide to those who cannot afford to buy them.

“I understand that not visiting our parents and grandparents for a few weeks will be tough but if it stops this deadly virus getting into our aged care homes then a lockdown must be enforced.

“Colac Otway Shire is also calling for communications to be approved at a local level for a quicker roll out of infection numbers; our community deserves an accurate, timely understanding of what we are dealing with.

We also need local tailored relevant messaging out to the community without the requirement for multiple approvals at the state level.

“Colac’s infection rate sat at 26 or 27 for days and then jumped to 43; we knew people were returning positive results but figures weren’t being updated.

“Our community is relying on local media and emails to learn that businesses, industries are closing because of positive cases but the figures don’t change.

“We ask that the Chief Health Officer makes an urgent decision based on the figures.

“Based on today’s figures, Colac has an infection rate of about 0.44 per cent with at least 48 cases in a population of 11,000. This compares to Wyndham which has recorded one of Melbourne’s highest infection rates of about 0.31 per cent (794 positive cases with a population of more than 255,000) and Mitchell Shire, which has a 0.08 per cent infection rate (36 cases, population of more than 44,000).

“If we can stop the spread we can potentially save lives and all look forward to businesses reopening and restarting our economy, instead of the way we are headed at the moment,” Cr Schram said.

“Our community is doing everything it can, people are wearing masks and staying home as much as possible but it’s obviously not enough – we need government direction to take the next step.”


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