Today’s announcement by Daniel Andrews says the trigger to move to the “Last Step” restrictions is no new COVID cases for 14 days across the whole of Victoria (including Metropolitan Melbourne).

31 country local government areas have not had a new case for at least two weeks, and three local government areas have never had a COVID case.

The Andrews Labor Government is forcing all country areas to remain in Stage 3 restrictions despite most regional areas meeting the “Last Step” test.

Under the current Stage 3 restrictions, country people still can only have ten people at a funeral or five people at a wedding. Only single people can have a social visitor who has to be a “nominated person.” Travel within Victoria is not allowed. Personal services, such as indoor personal training and beauty services, are not allowed. Sport is not allowed. Schools are shut. Restaurants are take-away only.

Under the Government’s plan for the “Last Step”, the economy and communities begin to function again. Schools are open and so are adult education and universities. Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed subject to density rules. People can visit each other at home. Sport is back. Gyms and personal training inside is allowed. Funerals and weddings can have more attendees. Churches, mosques and temples reopen for services. Travel and accommodation are permitted.

Regional Victoria’s businesses are on their knees due to restrictions that clearly don’t apply to their local communities.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“Daniel Andrews’s city-centric plan consigns all country Victorians to the remainder bin. It’s time he delivered a plan to protect our COVID-free communities and let them reopen area by area instead of lumping everyone together.

“Most of country Victoria hasn’t seen a new case for at least 14 days. We need to reopen restaurants, small businesses such as personal trainers, personal services and shuttered shops.

“It’s time for Daniel Andrews to treat regional Victorians as more than one undifferentiated mass. What’s right for Donald, where there’s never been a case is different to Colac where there are still new cases occurring.

“It’s time to let regional Victorians with no new COVID cases for 14 days live again.”