Daniel Andrews’ city-centric shutdowns are unfairly costing jobs in at local businesses in Echuca.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said a sudden backflip on coronavirus restrictions from the Andrews Government over the weekend had blindsided local restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars that had planned to reopen to 50 diners.
“Coronavirus shutdowns have smashed our local businesses, many of which have been forced to lay off staff and keep their doors closed for months,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s hard enough in the COVID climate for a business to function, but in river towns such as Echuca, people can simply drive for two minutes, cross the river into NSW and be one of 50 in a room – this poor decision is really hurting country towns that have been starved of cash flow for months,” he said.
“And there has hardly been a case of coronavirus anywhere in the whole electorate and in Campaspe Shire there is only one active case which was not contracted locally,” he said.
“The Andrews Government has been quick to consider strict lockdowns to high risk suburbs in Melbourne, but this should go both ways by allowing our regional businesses in communities where there few cases – if any – to safely return to business as normal.
“But as it now stands, our local workers and business owners are being unfairly punished by Daniel Andrews’ city-centric focus.”
A decision to push out the work from home order to July 31 was also causing frustration for country people, Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews’s blanket ban on all Victorians going back to the workplace unfairly disadvantages regional communities, particularly those that have never recorded a positive case of COVID-19,” he said.
As leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Mr Walsh said Daniel Andrews was constantly shifting the goal posts at the cost of local jobs.
“Many regional towns have never recorded a single positive coronavirus case, but Daniel Andrews has dragged us back into lockdown because of outbreaks in Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews sent the message that it’s okay to break the rules when he allowed 10,000 protestors to meet in Melbourne’s CBD a few weeks ago – in direct breach of social distancing rules.
“Daniel Andrews needs to explain why his mismanagement of coronavirus should cost country Victorians’ jobs.”