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Victorian Government must reverse draconian public health restrictions on regional businesses

The Victorian Government’s draconian restrictions on so many regional businesses as of midnight tonight will cause unnecessary hardship and place at risk the future of some family run enterprises.

Under circumstances there is no community transmission of COVID-19 in regional Victoria, the 50 person density limit on larger businesses has forced the closure of Sovereign Hill and other tourism and hospitality businesses, pushing some to the brink according to Commerce Ballarat.

It is untenable that the state government can continue to shut down the state’s economy so disproportionately without adequate public health justification.

I call on Acting Premier James Merlino to urgently reverse these draconian restrictions so that regional businesses can open subject to strict COVID safe practices.

With news breaking that there was no COVID positive case which visited Anglesea, there is even more cause to urgently review these restrictions.

The current state-imposed public health limitations in regional Victoria are not only pushing businesses to the wall but forcing hundreds of accommodation and restaurant cancellations over many weeks.

The temporary COVID disaster payment announced by the Prime Minister today will provide eligible Victorians who are living or working in a Commonwealth declared hotspot with a payment of up to $500 a week.

By reason that greater Melbourne has been declared a hotspot, people living in regional Victoria who work in greater Melbourne will be eligible for the payment.

Eligible Victorians who would normally work more than 20 hours a week will receive $500, while those working less hours will be eligible for $325.

Applications will be accepted from next Tuesday for people aged over 17 who have been stood down and lost their shifts. Eligibility also requires people to have liquid assets of less than $10,000.

The payment is expected to cost $50 million a week for each 100,000 people on the payment with final details to be worked through National Cabinet tomorrow morning.

Across Victoria, the Morrison Government has provided and continues to provide an unprecedented level of direct economic support.

  • Over $45 billion has already flowed to Victorian families and businesses during COVID, with more direct federal economic support per capita going to Victoria than to any other state.
  • The pandemic leave disaster payment of $1500 is available as is the National Health Emergency crisis payment. For businesses which experience losses, the loss carry-back measure is available to boost cash-flow at the end of the financial year.
  • The economic impact of the Victorian outbreak is not insignificant but the budget just over two weeks ago did anticipate further outbreaks would occur. Our budget measures were calibrated accordingly, with the budget providing an additional $41 billion of COVID-related economic support.

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