Calls for government support for the Colac community have gone unanswered: Richard Riordan

Local businesses, health service, media outlets, schools, families and individuals have come together to fight the coronavirus outbreak in Colac. But calls for support from the government have gone unanswered, writes Richard Riordan.


Richard Riordan, Herald Sun

The western Victorian community of Colac has, as its greatest strengths, resilience and connectedness.


In this past week of great adversity and challenge, when Colac went from zero to 26 cases of COVID-19 in five days, we have seen a community swing into action, hampered only by the government and its agencies that appear more concerned with its agendas than the welfare of people.



People wearing protective clothing at Trinity College in Colac. Picture: Alan Barber


I have watched proudly as the local businesses, health service, media outlets, schools, families and individuals have come together to fight this outbreak with all the capacity and capability of a much larger and well-resourced city.


As the state Member for Polwarth, I am constantly impressed with the way the locals have adhered to testing, social distancing, hygiene and isolation requirements but also feel a sense of frustration that we are left to work through this crisis on our own.


Sadly, the much-needed support from the Andrews Government has been lacking to a point that any attempts to seek information and direction have gone unanswered, leaving the community to deal with the challenges that this concerning rise in positive test results has brought into everyone’s lives.

People wearing protective clothing at Trinity College in Colac. Picture: Alan Barber

The lack of immediate contact tracing by the department has endangered lives and put enormous stress on individuals and families, who are left wondering how they could have been so let down by the state

Xaliya Hancock,19 and Chloe Rosevear, 17 government that is supposed to be

in the main st of Colac. guiding the response to the pandemic.


I have looked on in dismay each day this past week as the Premier and his Chief Health Officer repeatedly told the media there are ad


equate resources for contact tracing and testing in regional Victoria.


Currently we have thousands of residents in Colac who are in lockdown and unable to access supplies while they wait for their test results and for the start of contact tracing.


There have been instances of people not being contacted within 24 hours.


Nothing seems to have been learnt in Victoria. No lessons learnt from Cedar Meats. No lessons learnt from hotel quarantine.


And now no lessons will be learnt from the crisis in Colac.


Leaders in this community are stepping up but are being hampered by the lack of information and clear messaging from a government that has lost control.


Regardless of what Daniel Andrews says in his daily musings, Colac has not been given the support and guidance it needs.


Our community is setting the standard for best-practice COVID-19 response and is putting DHHS and the government to shame.


Richard Riordan is the Member for Polwarth |

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https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/calls-for-government-support-for-the-colac-community-have-gone-unanswered-richard-riordan/news-story/640bb6b0482b00e7450775596c2c1274

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