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Victorians need a road out of hope not a journey of despair

The Victorian Government’s failure to deliver any sort of plan to re-open the economy is irresponsible, undermining business confidence and causing growing despair.

Victorians understand the need for health restrictions including those made using State of Emergency powers – but restrictions must be proportionate to the public health risk, justifiable and temporary.

I have raised deep concerns about some restrictions which have closed businesses on what appears to be arbitrary and inconsistent grounds. Across Melbourne, Jim’s Mowing gardeners cannot work but this prohibition does not apply to council gardeners.

As Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said today, Victorians need hope. Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government need to talk a lot more about the road out than a longer road in.

As I have spoken about, the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act provides that a person who suffers loss from unreasonable restrictions can apply for compensation.

The proposal to extend emergency powers by 12 months is no plan for Victoria.

Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government must only be given the power to impose proportionate, necessary, short term emergency restrictions.

The Public Health and Wellbeing Act must also be amended so that the Victorian Health Minister is required to report to the Parliament in detail the reasons and public health rationale for each and every health restriction made using emergency powers. There is currently far too little accountability to the Parliament and to the people of Victoria.

In backing a 12 month extension to emergency powers, local state Labor MPs including in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo are demonstrating they have no roadmap to re-open the Victorian economy and no understanding of the impact these restrictions are having on regional Victorians including small businesses and farmers.

The New South Wales Government has demonstrated that keeping a COVIDsafe economy open is possible when hotel quarantine, contact tracing and testing are properly managed.

30 August 2020

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