COVID-19 COVID-19 assistance

COVID-19 Community Update: identifying symptoms and assistance for households and local businesses (20 March)

20 March 2020

As we all grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, I appreciate there is concern in the community and a need for clear information.

As a community, we must stay well-informed, calm and measured in our response, which is why I am sending you this email with some links to useful information.


This is a rapidly changing situation and I encourage you to keep abreast of updates through official channels.

You can do that here through the Victorian Department of Health and Human Service or on the Australian Government’s website here.


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, and  fatigue or tiredness. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

Locally, screening and assessment clinics have been established at Goulburn Valley Health, Bendigo Health and the Northern Hospital in Epping.

Benalla Health has also established a clinic out the front of the hospital which is currently operating between 1.30pm and 3.30pm each day.

If you think you have COVID-19, the hotline above is still the first port of call.


The economic challenge caused by coronavirus is enormous and it is vital now, more than ever, that we shop locally wherever possible.  Please support small businesses – butchers, greengrocers, delis and local coffee shops – at every opportunity. 

Remember small businesses create local jobs, and will be called on to sponsor local sports clubs and community groups, so make an effort to support them in any way you can.

I am aware that some of our supermarkets have been swamped in recent days by people coming from outside our region. I have asked the Victorian Government to look at measures to stop this from happening but in the meantime I want to stress that there is no need to panic buy. The vast majority of the food we consume is grown and produced in Australia (and we have 3 toilet paper manufacturers!). Our supermarkets are working hard to keep up with demand. 


The Federal Government has announced a stimulus package with incentives for businesses. This includes:

I strongly encourage you to read the above fact sheets to check your eligibility for support or you can call the ATO for more information on 1800 806 218.

I will continue to press the Victorian Government to announce support for businesses, in line with what every other state in Australia has already done.


The Federal Government also plans to make one-off stimulus payments of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. You can check your eligibility here.

Please utilise the links above and if I can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me on 03 5762 1600 or at [email protected].

Yours sincerely,


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