The decision not to include most of regional Victoria in today’s six week COVID-19 lockdown will provide some long overdue relief for country businesses and communities.
Victorians have worked hard to do our bit to stop the spread of the virus and save lives, but the worsening figures in Melbourne cannot be ignored.
The bad decisions and poor management of the virus by the Andrews Labor Government have left our state in an impossible position.
The next six weeks will be incredibly difficult for people living in the Melbourne area and the Mitchell Shire. It’s devastating news for families, businesses and communities who have been working hard to do the right thing but have now been dragged into further lockdowns.
Regional Victorians desperately needed the news today that we will not face further lockdowns as a result of outbreaks in Melbourne.
All Victorians have made huge sacrifices as we work to combat this pandemic but we have been let down by the Andrews Labor Government.
Many country communities have only seen a low number of cases or none at all. We need this opportunity to reopen, to get local people back to work and back in business as soon as possible.
Similar to the lockdown in Melbourne, reopening country communities should be managed by postcode and require patrons to provide proof they live in the local area.
There must also be careful consideration of the impact of state border closures with New South Wales and South Australia.
I urge compassion for our Victorian border communities and the close social and business ties they have with their interstate counterparts. We will not survive being indefinitely locked out of accessing critical health care, education and other essential services.
COVID shutdowns have smashed our country businesses and we desperately need to take common sense steps that will secure our local jobs and build business confidence.