Today I am calling for the lockdowns in south-west Victoria to end.  With so few COVID-19 cases in the Geelong, Surf Coast and Ballarat regions, where is the health justification in locking down such a large part of regional Victoria?

On the first day of the school holidays, Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government plunged our region into another black hole.

This is particularly heart-breaking for pubs and restaurants, tourism operators and accommodation providers.

The draconian restrictions, which are not consistent with the COVID-19 National Plan, must also end.

Whether it’s shutting down the building and construction industry, imposing nonviable patron caps on hotels and restaurants or not allowing students to return to school earlier, the Victorian Government is continuing to impose unjustified restrictions which are killing parts of our economy and causing widespread mental health harm.

Victoria’s roadmap must be an economic and health plan which gives Victorians not ongoing despair but real hope. 

I condemn today’s violent protests and riots in Melbourne’s CBD which began outside the offices of the CFMMEU.  The hours of chaos on city streets and the dangerous attacks on police, innocent bystanders and even the media were shocking. Any gathering of protestors also constitutes a serious public health risk, given the dramatically increased risk of the virus spreading.

I raise serious concerns about the state government’s response which was to shut down, overnight, the building and construction sector. This decision punishes the vast majority of 320,000 hard-working and law abiding Victorians who work in this industry.

It is regrettable that Federal Labor MPs, including Deputy Leader Richard Marles, have not stood up for these workers who have been forced off building sites for the next two weeks.  This will also cause a massive economic cost to the sector including across the Geelong region. 

21 September 2021