Mildura and Victoria’s border communities the length of the Murray River will be the losers of this year’s Grand Final, as low patron caps continue to squeeze the life out of the region’s hospitality sector.
Venues in Mildura will be allowed a total of just 30 patrons for Saturday night’s Grand Final decider, while venues a stone’s throw away in NSW are allowed to cater to hundreds of diners.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said it was a slap in the face for Victorian pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars that have already done it so tough.
“By enforcing low patron caps in regional Victoria, instead of sensible density limits, the Andrews Labor Government is pushing our local pubs and food businesses closer to the brink,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s not fair that venues in Mildura will turn hundreds of people away, while just over the River at Wentworth or Gol Gol they’re allowed to do a roaring trade.
“It’s the same story in Robinvale-Euston, Swan Hill-Murray Downs, Echuca-Moama, Cobram-Barooga, Yarrawonga-Mulwala and Albury-Wodonga.
“A density limit of one person per four square metres has been successfully implemented before in our hospitality businesses and proved to be a middle ground that paved the way for a safe, viable reopening.
“But Daniel Andrews can never get it right for our border communities.”
Mr Walsh said poorly implemented and confusing rules on Victoria’s border bubble communities were continuing to make life harder, not easier.
“Our local pubs and clubs are being punished by a city-centric Labor Government that doesn’t understand life outside of metropolitan Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.
“As vaccination rates continue to rise, we need to allow our communities to safely reopen so we can all have confidence we’re on the path to recovery.
“The past 18 months of pandemic has pushed every Victorian to our limit.
“Draconian restrictions, like those still being enforced on our regional hospitality sector, leave us without hope that Daniel Andrews actually has a way out.”