Regional Victorians will hold the Premier to his promise today to finally walk back Labor’s destructive policy of sudden, statewide lockdowns.
After 18 months of calls to dump the policy, from country communities and the Liberal Nationals, Daniel Andrews today flagged an intention to move to a “focused and targeted series of measures” in hotspots.
But the Premier’s words followed comments from his Deputy, James Merlino, in State Parliament yesterday that:
“You do not control this pandemic by thinking that you can do so by having different settings in different local government areas. It does not work.”
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the Andrews Labor Government was sending mixed messages to Victorians – again.
“Lockdowns should only be a last resort, but Daniel Andrews’ policy of using them – statewide – as a first response has left Victorians losing hope we’ll ever get out of this,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point, causing untold pain and suffering along the way. He will now be held to account.
“The Liberal Nationals have long pushed for common sense, with any lockdowns limited to hotspots to make sure communities that are hundreds of kilometres away and have no cases don’t suffer unnecessarily.
“Other measures, like rapid testing, fixing contact tracing and filling the gaps in Victoria’s vaccination program, will give all Victorians hope there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Some restrictions will be eased in regional Victoria on Friday, but the blanket lockdown has meant three more weeks without income for many Victorians in communities with no active cases and has pushed small business to the brink.
“Sadly, country Victorians know from experience the Premier is good at saying one thing in front of the TV cameras, only to suddenly backflip without any transparency or accountability,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victorians deserve hope. We deserve a plan out of this endless cycle of destructive lockdowns, but after 18 months Daniel Andrews still can’t deliver us one.”