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Continuing lockdowns a cruel betrayal

The decision by the Victorian Government to delay the easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne is a cruel betrayal of thousands of Victorian businesses and their employees.

With much of Melbourne’s retail, events, fitness, hospitality and tourism sectors forced to stay closed, many more businesses are now invariably facing collapse.

In reneging on his promise to deliver good news today, Premier Andrews is wreaking more havoc on the finances and mental health of so many Victorians. This shows a continuing callous disregard for small business.

Restaurants and cafes, in particular, have been left devastated by the extended lockdown after making massive investments to restock perishables and roster staff to start work tomorrow.

Victorians can be incredibly proud of what they have achieved. With a 14 day rolling average of 4.6 new cases a day, the infection rate is below the threshold set by the Victorian Government to further re-open the economy.

As Health Minister Greg Hunt has made clear, the Premier’s decision shows that Victoria’s contact tracing is still not up to the job. Like NSW, Victoria must be able to deal with local coronavirus outbreaks without shutting down the entire economy.

While the news is better for regional Victoria, the continuing lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne is also causing major economic damage to regional Victoria which is so dependent on Melbourne’s economy.

In particular, the continuing lockdown of the Mornington Peninsula is having a devastating impact on Searoad Ferries and other tourism businesses across our region including on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Police Minister and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville, a member of Daniel Andrews’ COVID crisis cabinet, has really failed our community. At the very least, Ms Neville should have supported a re-opening of the Mornington Peninsula economy but she has been missing in action.

With just eight weeks to Christmas, enough is enough.

25 October 2020

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