Celia Hammond MP

KINDNESS AND COMMUNITY WILL GET US THROUGH THIS

KINDNESS AND COMMUNITY WILL GET US THROUGH THIS

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.”