Victoria’s blanket bans on solo recreational activities have never made sense.
While we can get out for a socially distant walk along the river with a friend or to play basketball outdoors, solo pursuits like fishing, hunting, golf, prospecting and horse riding are off the menu.
It’s particularly frustrating when you consider other states have never put similar bans in place.
So it should go without saying that lifting bans on solo recreational activities must be part of any move to relax COVID-19 restrictions later this week.
I’m not advocating for people to travel long distances. This is about local people getting out in their local community.
Despite claiming to be from the country, Daniel Andrews just doesn’t seem to understand that getting out in the great outdoors is more than a hobby for country people – it’s in our DNA.
We are all prepared to do our bit to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, but it’s ridiculous to stop a person from fishing off a beach, lake, river or jetty if they are lucky enough to live close by.
It makes no sense that our beaches are open to surfers as long as social distancing rules are followed, but horse riding and golfing are a strict no-no.
Likewise for hunting or prospecting, where many undertake their activity solo or in pairs.
These forms of exercise or recreation are more than a hobby, they’re a way of life for many regional Victorians and a key reason we live where we do.
They’re also a critical outlet that helps to build good mental health and physical wellbeing.
At this time of long isolation, this has never been so important.
Everyone in our community has made big changes in their lives to make sure we protect each other.
It’s kept the number of positive cases recorded in regional communities very low.
We’ve put in the hard yards and it’s saved lives.
While it is critically important we keep up the work to comply with rules on gatherings and social distancing, on May 11, blanket bans on solo recreational activities must be wound back to allow local people to get out in our local area. It’s common sense.
Leader of the Nationals
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation