Celia Hammond MP



Article written by David Cohen, in the front page of the Post Newspaper 21/03/2020

Curtin MP Celia Ham­mond has tapped into western sub­urbs’ “kind­ness and com­mu­nity” to help vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple with shop­ping and other needs. More than 200 lo­cals have al­ready signed up to do house­hold tasks for older peo­ple too afraid to jos­tle for gro­ceries or re­luc­tant to ex­pose them­selves in crowds to possible car­ri­ers of COVID-19.

“It’s not go­ing to be over in two weeks,” Ms Ham­mond said. “It’s a mat­ter of us work­ing to­gether to get through it.” The Fed­eral MP’s elec­torate of­fice in Su­bi­aco is act­ing as a con­tact point for vol­un­teers and for peo­ple need­ing help. Many younger western sub­urb peo­ple are al­ready help­ing their older neigh­bours who have largely con­fined them­selves to their homes.

Ms Ham­mond said the 19,000 se­niors in her elec­torate needed to be looked af­ter. This week she told lo­cal may­ors, CEOs, and politi­cians that her Curtin Com­mu­nity Care cam­paign would help co­or­di­nate ef­forts to make sure elec­torate res­i­dents were helped, and could help.

“This is not about tak­ing over a vi­tal role,” Ms Ham­mond said. “It’s about help­ing to con­nect peo­ple. If peo­ple al­ready have a point of con­tact with a char­ity or a ser­vice group, they should keep us­ing that.”

She said her letters to peo­ple aged 65 and over should have started ar­riv­ing in let­ter­boxes this Fri­day. Her let­ter asks peo­ple to con­tact her of­fice if they can call the el­derly or vul­ner­a­ble, collect and deliver their gro­ceries, and do other tasks. “If peo­ple vol­un­teer to us, we will con­nect them to the best or­gan­i­sa­tion,” she said.

Ms Ham­mond said she was op­ti­mistic the western sub­urbs would emerge from the cri­sis. “We see it time and time again in Curtin, vol­un­teer­ing and phi­lan­thropy,” she said. “I’ve got no rea­son to see why it won’t hap­pen again.” “We want peo­ple to be cau­tious and care­ful – but not panic or be narky with each other.”

She said her of­fice would also like to build up a data­base of busi­nesses that could help peo­ple. “For ex­am­ple, I’m ap­proach­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions that want to pro­duce al­co­hol-based hand sani­tiser,” she said. “It keeps get­ting nicked and it’s run out every­where.

“If you know of a lo­cal busi­ness that can offer on­line or­der­ing, pick-up and de­liv­ery ser­vices, we’d love to hear about it.”

Ms Ham­mond said she looked likely to stay in her elec­torate of­fice for now. “The big­gest con­cern was what was true re­gard­ing health rec­om­men­da­tions: peo­ple needed clearer in­for­ma­tion,” Ms Ham­mond said. “The sec­ond-big­gest were wor­ries about the el­derly and the vul­ner­a­ble. If they stay home, who is go­ing to help them with their shop­ping, for ex­am­ple.”

A key part of Ms Ham­mond’s let­ter pro­motes the fed­eral health de­part­ment’s web­site for ac­cu­rate and up-to-date in­for­ma­tion. Ms Ham­mond said mis­in­for­ma­tion about the pan­demic, and what to do, was be­ing cir­cu­lated.

She can be con­tacted via phone on 9388 0288 or email at celia.ham­[email protected]

“I will con­tinue to share the lat­est COVID-19 up­dates on my so­cial me­dia and web­site,” she said. “How­ever I en­cour­age ev­ery­one to reg­u­larly mon­i­tor the Health De­part­ment web­site at www.health.gov.au.”