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Victorian Government solely responsible for loss of iconic Bells Beach surf competition

The Victorian Government’s mismanagement is solely to blame for the loss of the Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro from Victoria.

International passenger caps are set and managed solely by the states.

National Cabinet agreed last year that quarantine arrangements for arriving travellers would be managed by each individual state and territory. Arrival caps are also set by individual states and territories according to their capacity.

While the Victorian Government sat on its hands, the New South Wales Government managed to respond quickly to the World Surf League’s (WSL) request for 120 surfers and support crew to fly into Australia which resulted in the competition moving to Newcastle.

The Victorian Government has the discretion to vary its cap as it did when it permitted 1,200 tennis players and support staff to fly into Victoria for the Australian Open. The State’s attempt to deflect blame onto the Commonwealth has no credibility.

The WSL has confirmed that the Victorian Government failed to approve its plan to charter a flight and quarantine everyone on the flight for a mandatory 14 days, all at the expense of WSL.

This has cost our local economy dearly including local businesses which rely so heavily on the Easter weekend competition such as the Beach Hotel in Jan Juc.

Owner Jamie Collins estimates the loss of the surf carnival will cost his business at least $100,000 in revenue.

The Jan Juc Cricket Club, which runs the car parking for the competition, will lose critical revenue which is used primarily to support younger players.

I am shocked that Daniel Andrews and his government have managed this issue so badly. This is an international embarrassment.

Local federal and state Labor MPs Darren Cheeseman and Libby Coker should hang their heads in shame. They are two of the most ineffective members of parliament ever to represent our region. On social media, Mr Cheeseman gave some lame excuse whilst Ms Coker is missing in action.

8 February 2021

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