How Council responded to crisis

Published on 16 May 2020

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The City of Stonnington responded swiftly to the COVID-19 crisis, with the first priority being the safety and wellbeing of staff, customers and the community.

City of Stonnington Mayor, Cr Steve Stefanopoulos, said many difficult decisions were made early in the pandemic, particularly the closure of facilities and services. He said decisive action – coupled with clear and consistent communications – was the only way to properly respond to this once-in-a-century event.

"These tough decisions – including closing important community services – proved to be timely and well-measured. Indeed, the City of Stonnington led the way in changing our service delivery and adjusting to the new reality," Cr Stefanopoulos said.

"These decisive moves meant we could operate with sufficient capacity and capability, while ensuring the community remained informed and prepared for the challenge."

City of Stonnington CEO, Jacqui Weatherill, said Council moved swiftly to enable the vast majority of or staff to work from home, where they were able to deliver essential services to keep the city safe, clean and functioning.

"Our people have shown great resilience and have rallied during this challenge. To move an entire workforce to work from home would normally be a multi-year project, and we achieved it in days with barely a hiccup in customer service," Ms Weatherill said.

"Our frontline staff continue to collect waste and recycling, kept our streets clean and delivered a constant flow of community information. And, as always, our Community Services team never missed a beat, continuing to deliver vital support to our elderly and most vulnerable."

Ms Weatherill said the City of Stonnington worked closely with the Victorian Government and Victoria Police to communicate, what were, at first, strong health warnings and advice, but which rapidly moved into enforcement.

This included the closure of playgrounds, sports facilities and fitness equipment, the installation of highly visible signage, social media campaigns and an increased Council presence in parks and open spaces.

"Our parks and outdoor spaces have been used by unprecedented numbers of people seeking to escape, get fresh air, exercise and experience a degree of connectivity with their neighbours, albeit on the move.

"Despite the increased demand, we saw an excellent response to the call for social distancing. The cooperation across the community has been remarkable," said Ms Weatherill.

 

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This article was featured in the May 2020 edition of Stonnington News. You can subscribe to Stonnington News to have each edition sent directly to your inbox.

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