The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, said Daniel Andrews can use any – indeed every – one of his vast array of excuses, distorted facts and baseless claims but the figures don’t lie.
Mr Walsh said barely 12 per cent of the promised $100 million Andrews Labor government funding for the state’s small business owners has actually been delivered.
A “pathetic outcome” he said had been particularly damaging in river communities such as Echuca-Moama, where border closures and lockdowns had caused severe and widespread financial damage.
“There’s no denying some businesses have done well through COVID; but the accommodation and hospitality sectors have been devastated,” Mr Walsh said.
“The latest Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) report has exposed only 4000 of Victoria’s approximately 400,000 sole traders could meet Labor’s difficult criteria for the program.”
Mr Walsh said this condemns so many of them to financial collapse, more unemployment and increasingly disturbing health and wellbeing collateral damage.
“And now we’re going through déjà vu all over again with another hotel quarantine failure,” he said.
A failure Mr Walsh said when you compare Australia’s two most populous states during the pandemic – it’s no comparison.
And added as Andrews tries to shift attention from yet another failed hotel quarantine program, blaming the strains of virus mutation as “wicked” and moving targets that are hard to hit, he once again missed the target.
“His claim to have the nation’s best management systems for COVID-19 is as hollow as all those claims of “I don’t remember” and “I can’t recall” when asked the hard questions by the Coate Inquiry into the Victorian government’s previous ongoing failures,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victoria has quarantined just 35,666 travellers (between March 29 last year and February 9 this year) compared with NSW’s 124,893,” he said.
“Victoria has had 20,456 COVID cases while NSW has had just 4940.
“Most damning of all, Victoria has recorded 820 COVID deaths compared to 56 in NSW.
“In other words, by whatever benchmark you choose, the Andrews Labor government’s track record is appalling and with the latest outbreak all Andrews has left to offer the people of this state are more excuses – no responsibility.”
As NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told media this week: “I think success is measured by how many people you’re able to bring in and how you can keep the community safe”.
NSW is now taking 3010 overseas travellers a week; Victoria just 1120.
Mr Walsh said now the Andrews Labor government has halted its promised increase to take more arrivals following the latest failures in its quarantine program.
He said a report in the Herald Sun today said “despite the new cases and move to scrap the capacity increase, Mr Andrews said there was ‘nothing wrong’ with Victoria’s hotel quarantine. Instead he blamed the infectivity and unpredictability of the mutant UK and South African strains”.
“With his daily diatribe on TV losing all vestiges of value – let alone credibility – eventually Victoria’s Premier might own up to the fact he is the only common factor in all these failures,” Mr Walsh added.
“He has sacked bureaucrats, driven colleagues from office, blamed the sick, blamed the wider general public, blamed viral mutation and blamed interstate people,” he said.
“And if it wasn’t for his bad memory problems; he would probably have a few more targets to blame before reality sets in and the Cult of Dan and his farrago of fabricated spin is exposed for all the world to see.”