The Victorian Government will support Hepburn Shire to enable virtual meetings and continue community engagement during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Local Government Minister Shaun Leane and Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, have announced that Macedon Ranges Shire and Hepburn Shire Council will received almost $200,000 towards its technology needs.

The funding comes as part of the $3.8 million 2020 Rural Councils ICT Infrastructure Support Program, designed to help rural councils with the costs imposed by COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings and workplaces.

Under the restrictions, councils like the Macedon Ranges and Hepburn Shires have adopted remote working conditions and virtual meetings to keep essential services running, continue consulting with communities and making decisions.

Rural councils face particular challenges meeting the costs of this work, with limited financial resources to fund the training, equipment and other ICT infrastructure required.

Councils will be vital to recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19. Alongside this support package the Government has also extended the successful Growing Suburbs Fund, with $25 million to be committed to interface and peri-urban councils. Successful recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

Quotes attributable to Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas MP

“Macedon Ranges Shire and Hepburn Shire have done fantastic work for our community throughout the pandemic and I’m pleased that the State Government are able to help them work remotely.”

 “As we move into recovery from the pandemic, the Macedon Ranges and Hepburn Shires will have an important role to play for our community and we’re making sure they have the tools they need to do the job.”