The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says the time is long gone for the Andrews Labor Government to stop playing games with regional Victoria’s crippled small businesses.
Mr Walsh said it is more than six weeks since Daniel Andrews and Labor promised small businesses support after they were devastated by Victoria’s record lockdown four.
Six weeks, he said, and too many small businesses owners have received nothing.
“There’s no question this government doesn’t get it; but I think the biggest crime here is it simply doesn’t care,” Mr Walsh said.
“It has been spelt out to them so many times the river economies in particular have been paralysed by lockdowns but just as clearly Andrews Inc don’t give a damn that these small businesses simply can’t afford to wait weeks and weeks for the government to finally provide them with support,” he said.
“It’s easy for the Premier, it’s easy for his bureaucrats – they haven’t missed a pay cheque this entire pandemic.
“But small business owners, their lives are on the line, and it’s time for the government to actually give them the money.
“Show them the money, Premier – you promised it to them, they deserve it, they need it, and it’s time to make sure that money gets paid.
“Unlike you and I, who know the real story, some of these people actually think you tell the truth when you front up for the cameras and your moment as the star, promising this and promising that – and never delivering.”
Mr Walsh said already the experts are predicting it will take more than three years for the Melbourne CBD to just get back to where it was before the pandemic began.
Small regional business might be lucky to last three or four months if they don’t get some money now; he added.
“My office and social media have been swamped with desperate pleas and angry, frustrated business owners who have now learnt the hard truth – and truth is not what they are getting,” Mr Walsh said.
“One constituent said ‘Dictator Dan, you truly are a self-centred idiot. You also clearly have no idea how big Victoria and NSW are; and how far away those NSW COVID cases are. How can you ignore the cries from these border communities?’
“Another posted ‘no need to shut the border in this area, people work in both states and that far from Sydney; use your brains Andrews if you have any’.”
Mr Walsh said other comments included ‘we have done the right thing. Don’t punish the good country people who do follow the rules’ and ‘we are run by control freaks and madmen. I seriously doubt our leaders have any experience in running businesses or farms in the real world. Or even have a clue what goes on outside the big city’ or ‘keep the borders green Dan. We are dying; business is dying; so many empty shops and businesses because of lockdowns and border closures’.
“The last word goes to another individual who may well be on their last financial legs: ‘Won’t bother the chairman Peter; when you earn $8000 per week, he couldn’t give a stuff about anyone else, especially country people’.”