Melbourne’s ultimate horse-racing cop-loving capitalist Lord Mayor Sally Capp reckons the pandemic was actually good for her city, which she says has come out the other side stronger than before.
Capp will give a TEDx Talk on Friday as part of the Kintsugi: From Broken to Beautiful series about the many ways Melbourne has benefited from the pandemic. For example, now we have more outdoor dining!
Just to remind you, 5,990 Victorians have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began and Melbourne residents spent 246 days in lockdown. Obviously, the lockdowns saved thousands more lives, but they were still shit all ’round.
But nevermind all that, Capp says we’ve gone from “lockdown to boomtown”!
“There aren’t many who will stand in front of a crowd like this and say COVID has been good for anything or anyone,” Capp will say in her TEDx Talk.
“But I’m here to do just that.”
She will talk about the opportunities that arose from the hellfire and that “Melbourne has emerged bruised, but bolder and braver because of it all”.
One thing she’ll bring up is outdoor dining “parklets” that are now “a permanent positive feature of Melbourne”.
“You could say the parklets are golden fissures making Melbourne’s famed dining scene better than it ever was.”
What about the hospitality industry’s crippling labour shortages you’re so mad about?
Capp’s talk will also praise government initiatives like when community housing associations and hotels figured out they wow we actually can solve homelessness and give people empty rooms.
“It changed lives,” she’ll say.
“I recently received an email from a gentleman who lived in a local hotel over lockdowns. Despite experiencing homelessness for some years, this hotel stay was the circuit breaker he needed to turn his life around. He now has a job and secure housing.”
So if y’all figured out a simple and life-saving solution to homelessness, why is the number of people sleeping rough literally rising in 2022? Why are people dying?
Her speech cites sold-out Hamilton tickets and queues at cafes as signs the “wound is healing”, an absolute slap in the face to people still living with long COVID and those grieving for the loved ones they lost.
And she will say our economy is expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels by 2031 — “Now that’s what I call lockdown to boomtown”.
“It’s thanks to the debilitating impacts of COVID, the 262 days as a broken city and community, that we have achieved the seemingly impossible, pirouetted, taken risks, dreamed big and accelerated progress.
“It’s not just despite the hardship and devastation of the pandemic, but because of the hardship and devastation of the pandemic, that our community imagined and accelerates Melbourne as a bolder, braver, better place.”
Respectfully, Sally, put a Capp in it.