With Regional Services Minister Mark Coulton MP meeting Beechworth, Corryong, Tallangatta and Alpine health service chief executives at Beechworth Health Service in October last year.

I worked as a nurse and midwife in rural healthcare in the North East for more than 30 years before my election to Parliament. It’s very clear to me that we are facing an extraordinary public health emergency.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) puts each of us, our families, friends, communities and economy, at very serious risk.

We all have a role to play. It is essential that we follow the expert advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health to protect ourselves from the risk of infection and contain the spread of the virus.

The Prime Minister has announced that businesses and events where people usually gather closed or would be restricted from 12pm today.

The well-being and care of the people and communities of Indi are my priorities.

We have a sophisticated public health system, but it is really important to recognise that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, friends, our jobs, and those who are vulnerable in our communities.

My electorate offices in Wangaratta and Wodonga will continue to support you with advice and help.

My staff, as usual, will continue to respond to all enquiries made by telephone, email and post.

But to minimise the risk of the virus spreading, my two offices will not be open to visitors for the time being and I will arrange for face-to-face meetings with me to be conducted instead by telephone.

I’m now in Canberra representing you at this week’s shortened sitting of Parliament.

I have been carefully reviewing the federal government’s coronavirus stimulus and safety net package to understand what it means for you, your family, our business sector and communities.

I will have more to say about these important measures when the legislation is presented.

Making sure that bushfire recovery programs in the Upper Murray, Ovens and King valleys and neighbouring communities are maintained remains vital. This is a key concern that I’ll be raising in Parliament.

Assistance

Email helen.haines.mp@aph.gov.au

Call 03 5721 7077 or 02 6024 6284 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday or leave a message

Check helenhaines.org for information and subscribe for updates at helenhaines.org/join/connect

Federal stimulus program

Go to treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

Coronavirus alerts

Go to health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Read Stimulus vital but so is consistency