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Centrelink a COVID-19 support THE Mornington offices of Centrelink and Medicare have received a second reprieve and will stay in the town at least until late September. Flinders MP Greg Hunt said the “further extension” would allow the offices to remain open “to support locals through COVID-19”. In August, then Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Sam Hearn welcomed the federal government’s backflip when it announced the offices would stay open an extra six months, but said the shire would “continue to advocate for Services Australia to permanently reinstate the Mornington Centrelink office” (“Reprieve for Centrelink” The News 3/8/20). Echoing comments he made in August after the first reprieve was announced, Mr Hunt last week said “many Australians and locals on the Mornington Peninsula have been doing it tough over the past year and for those that need assistance, the service centre will continue to be in Morning-

ton to support them through this pandemic”. Dunkley Labor MP Peta Murphy, at that time, said the federal government’s decision to close the Mornington Centrelink office run by 16 staff and replace it with a single desk staffed for 15 hours a week at Mornington Post Office was “ludicrous”. Last week Mr Hunt said he had “continued to fight for our community for services to remain in Mornington, first through an agent service, now through the continuation of the service centre through the coronavirus outbreak”. He said services offered “from the nearby Frankston, Rosebud and Hastings service centres remain unchanged”. Dealings with Centrelink and Medicare can also be carried out through Services Australia’s Express Plus apps and phone. The Mornington Service Centre in Main Street, Mornington opens 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Keith Platt

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The shire states that its main priority “is to keep our community safe this summer” and lists rules for wearing face masks and limiting visitors to homes as being additional restrictions since 5pm Thursday 31 December. When announcing the opening of foreshore camping on 27 November CEP John Baker “the overall easing of restrictions and in particular an increase in outdoor gathering numbers guided our thinking”. “I’m delighted we can allow the camping tradition to continue on the peninsula this summer and I implore our campers to do the right thing to ensure a safe and successful season,” Mr Baker said. Campers would be asked to observe such COVID requirements as a guest register for each site, comply with density quotients in amenity blocks and wear masks where appropriate. “We have been cautious with our deliberations and believe we have reached the right balance between public safety and allowing the camping season to continue,” Mr Baker said.

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Continued from Page 1 While the economic benefits of camping on the foreshore - “a dubious cash cow” - could be a subject for future discussion with the shire, she was “most immediately concerned with the risk that the resumption of camping is putting us all in at the moment”. “We already know there have been two local venues that are exposure sites. There are likely many others, given the fact that we are ‘Melbourne’s Playground’ right now, and we are populated with visitors from all over Victoria which is now riddled with exposure sites.” Ms Baillieu said it allowing camping was an “invitation to disaster to knowingly endorse this situation and do nothing”. The decision by the shire to allow limited camping Victoria recording 28 days of no locally transmitted cases of COVID-19. The shire’s website acknowledges “confirmed [COVID-19) exposure sites on the peninsula” and provides a link to the latest DHHS information.

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Mornington News

12 January 2021

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Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

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