Rapid response to industry

Mez Korbetis

The Territory's arts and culture, sport and recreation, parks and wildlife and tourism sectors have been hard-hit by COVID-19 – but support and information were rapidly provided thanks to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

As the department's Director of Communications and Media, Mez Korbetis had been engaged in crisis response since the January bushfires.

During COVID-19, Mez has interacted with national bodies and communicated with international, national and local stakeholders.

"I was privileged to manage a small team of people who operated within an Incident Response environment, to help inform and support operators, to understand how they might go about addressing the various restrictions," she said.

"Like everyone in the nation, we found out about restrictions through the Prime Minister's press conferences and had to unpack the information by the next morning.

"The pace was so quick, there was little to no heads-up, so we worked collectively to keep on top of the changes and ensure quick relay to the affected sectors."

The team made calls to business owners and industry, sent messages explaining support packages and created sector newsletters.

"The information we provided was met with great appreciation during what was a confusing time for all," she said.

Mez was impressed by the sectors' resilience: "We saw Wharf One providing fresh pasta and ready-made meals, the Waterfront establish a beach bar, restaurants doing takeaway and deliveries, musicians doing virtual live gigs," she said.

"The arts sector were still creating; the Territory Wildlife Park and Alice Springs Desert Parks were still providing online educational programs for families home during isolation.

"And despite people having personal concerns regarding the pandemic and the vulnerability of people, it did not sway the work of the team – they rose to the challenge."

Mez Korbetis - DTSC

Last updated: 23 June 2020

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