Labor Health Minister Martin Foley can’t explain why asymptomatic testing wasn’t offered to customers who were potentially exposed to a Melbourne virus outbreak that’s now spread to regional Victoria.
Mr Foley was asked in State Parliament today if he agreed with CHO Brett Sutton that asymptomatic testing for customers of Chadstone’s Butcher Club wasn’t “value for money”, despite it being offered in Kilmore.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh slammed the Minister for refusing to take responsibility and failing to properly fund testing efforts.
“Daniel Andrews promised Victorians he would fix testing and contact tracing but failures have led to new coronavirus outbreaks across regional Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“It doesn’t make sense that asymptomatic customers at the Kilmore café attended by the infected Melbourne diner were allowed to be tested for COVID-19, but those at the Butcher Club – the original source of the outbreak – were not.
“To say asymptomatic testing isn’t ‘value for money’ is a slap in the face to every regional Victorian who has lost their job, closed their business or turned their own life upside-down due to COVID restrictions.
“Hundreds of regional Victorians in Kilmore and Shepparton have stepped up to be tested, but the sad fact is we wouldn’t be here if the Andrews Labor Government had done it’s job protecting our communities.”
The outbreaks have increased regional Victoria’s 14-day average to 0.6.
“The Andrews Labor Government’s failure to fund proper testing at Chadstone allowed this virus to spread to Kilmore and now Shepparton stopping regional Victoria from going to the Last Step,” Mr Walsh said.
“Testing rates across Victoria have been decreasing. The Premier should doing everything he can to increase testing rates, not cherry-picking who does and doesn’t get tested.
“It’s no wonder Victoria is still being crippled by the Andrews Labor Government’s second wave when it still can’t get the basics right.
“Regional Victorians deserve to know why we’re now staring down the barrel of worsening outbreaks that threaten to keep our businesses closed longer and wind back the progress we’d made towards COVID normal.”