From Hilltops Council – Councillor John Walker

John Walker

The health of a community can be assessed on the balance between economic environmental and cultural factors.

While we take comfort in the world recognised leadership that Australia has demonstrated during the COVID-19 world pandemic many must ask how the balance of these values are determined. Last week one part of the nation was in lockdown and another part was encouraged to draw a crowd of 52000 into a football stadium and see the wave of maroon jerseys startle those in blue in a rugby league interstate match.

Here in Hilltops we were reminded that a gathering of over 100 persons is not permitted amid the current State COVID-19 restrictions. As I highlight the important role sport plays in the balance of our physical and mental health and welfare may I also recognise the arts and entertainment are in that cultural balance. The entertainment industry was forced into shutdown as policy makers lost sight of their significance in any community social welfare.

As rules have continually adjusted to assessments by proven credible health professionals (who I can only praise) on the risks of the spread of Coronavirus and national leaders seem to have the balance right between our physical mental and economic wellbeing. Full credit also to the actions, alertness and resilience and professionalism of our first responders who at the front line ensure that the best of strategies are implemented.

All good but I have a premonition that other influences are at play when it comes to strategies to allow cultural activities.

Although unable to practice together because of COVID-19 restrictions I give credit to Young Town Band (YTB) musicians who have seen their ability to perform publicly halted while awaiting directions from State. In the meantime they remain poised with a COVID-19 reactivation plan in coordination with Hilltops Council Safety Policy.

I note that the State Government has committed $104.5m for upgrades to arts and cultural assets statewide as part of their recovery initiative. We can only hope that YTB can get a look in this time on its “shovel ready” submissions to upgrade Young Town Hall into a venue suitable to attract top performers and to join them in concerts.

Surely it must be time for a review of the COVID-19 policy for the entertainment industry. It is so varied from state to state. A call to allow more music in Hilltops!

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