The Andrew Labor Government has refused to explain why communities and businesses in country Victoria can’t move to the Last Step, despite there being zero new cases in the regions for 14 days.
Health Minister Martin Foley was asked in State Parliament to provide the health advice on country restrictions including mandated mask wearing, even during solo activity, and why the regions are being prevented from moving to the last step.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said moving to the last step would get more people back to work and revive regional economies with more opportunities to spend in town.
“According to the Andrews Labor Government’s roadmap to reopening, it’s safe to move to the last step when there’s been no new cases recorded for 14 days,” Mr Walsh said.
“Regional Victorians have met that threshold, yet we’re prevented from taking the next step towards COVID normal because our future is still chained to Melbourne.
“We’re all prepared to do our part, but with no new cases for 14 days and Labor’s own former Health Minister saying the Government’s suffering a ‘paralysis of decision-making’ regional Victorians are right to question the evidence supporting the continued lockdown.”
Mr Foley was also asked why regional Victorians can still be fined for not wearing a mask while out doing solo recreational activity, like walking the dog, playing golf or fishing.
Mr Walsh has written to the Government and the Chief Health Officer multiple times seeking the evidence supporting the enforced rule, but nearly seven weeks later there’s still been no response.
“Regional Victorians have done the heavy lifting after Daniel Andrews let the virus slip through the cracks of hotel quarantine in Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.
“More weeks of restrictions means more pain for regional businesses and communities – we deserve to know why we are being kept under lock and key.
“If the public health advice is supporting this lockdown, why won’t the Andrews Labor Government release it to give country people piece of mind that it’s in our best interests?”