The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says if 70 per cent or 80 per cent vaccination is the Andrews Labor Government’s get out of jail free benchmark then regional Victoria is good to go – now.
Mr Walsh said as usual, regional Victoria is leading the way, showing the Andrews Labor Government how it should be done in Melbourne – and to get the job done.
He said Melbourne has a first jab rate of 59.2 per cent and full vaccination rate of just 30.5 per cent.
“In my electorate of Murray Plains; Gannawarra Shire has 83.4 per cent and full vaccination of 50.2 per cent,” Mr Walsh said.
“Campaspe Shire has 83.1 per cent and 50.2 per cent while Swan Hill is at 82 per cent and 47.7 per cent – with our opening-up milestones based on vaccination rates, I am demanding the regions (which are well ahead on these rates) to have restrictions eased earlier when we hit these benchmarks earlier,” he said.
“Or are we to remain shackled to the failures of the Andrews Government to deliver on all their big talk with their vaccination rollout in Melbourne?
“Those rates in my electorate are reflected across regional Victoria, for example, East Gippsland has 57 per cent fully vaccinated (81 per cent first dose) and this is increasing significantly each day, but in the city LGAs Hume (31 per cent), Melton (33 per cent), Dandenong (33 per cent), Whittlesea (34 per cent), Brimbank (35 per cent) and Wyndham (36 per cent)”.
Mr Walsh said on the current trajectories, these big councils in metro areas will hold the state average back weeks after the regions have hit the targets to open.
He said without changing the agreed benchmarks; and keeping travel restrictions in place for the hot spots, there is a strong argument here to get the regions open earlier and this is something I will be asking the government to deliver when Parliament resumes after the school holidays,” he said.
“When we do hit 70 and 80 per cent statewide, the higher rates in the country will be compensating for the lower rates in the problem inner city councils where cases are out of control, meaning they will open up not having achieved the required rates locally.
City and country are under different levels of restriction now and have been for some time.
“I don’t see why we should have more weeks of pain, treading water waiting for the city to catch up, after we’ve exceeded our benchmarks.”