The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, particularly in Melbourne, are having a profound impact on the mental health of Victorians.

Commonwealth Health Department figures show that more than a million Australians have sought mental health treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation is extremely grim in Victoria where ongoing lockdowns have triggered a 30 per cent increase in cases in the past four weeks. Demand for children’s mental health services has increased by more than 30 per cent.

According to the Department of Health, 350,884 Victorians sought access to Medicare-funded GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors in September and October. This was a 31 per cent increase on the same period last year and three times higher than the national average.

Regional Victoria has also been severely impacted.  Lifeline Geelong has received a 31 per cent increase in local crisis calls compared with the same time last year.  It has more than 100 volunteers on its books but urgently needs another 50 volunteers to meet demand.

My message to the Premier is unlock Victoria and give Victorians their freedom.

And my message to Federal Labor MPs in our region – Richard Marles, Libby Coker, Katherine King and Lisa Chesters is – where are you?  Why are you failing to stand up for your constituents on such a critical issue?  Our tourism and hospitality businesses are being brought to their knees because they rely on the Melbourne economy which is in lockdown.  So, show some backbone and start speaking out about Daniel Andrews’ disastrous roadmap.

Too many lives and livelihoods are being ruined.

Victoria now has a similar number of active cases to New South Wales where the economy is open and thriving.

This weekend, Daniel Andrews needs to abandon his disastrous “roadmap”, unlock Victoria and give Victorians their freedom.

14 October 2020