Health small business | March 03, 2021

State of COVID uncertainty to continue until end of year

Support from crossbench MPs has seen Daniel Andrews' grab for power over Victorians' lives and livelihoods extended until the end of the year. 

The Nationals opposed the blank cheque State of Emergency extension, instead proposing it be reviewed by the State Parliament every month to secure accountability and transparency in government spending and decision-making.

The extension was supported by Ali Cupper MP's Reason Party and Melbourne Upper House representative, Fiona Patten, as well as the Animal Justice Party and The Greens.

Ms Cupper claimed to have secured a special deal for regional Victoria, but this was later rubbished by Health Minister Martin Foley who said “there wasn’t a formal proposition put by the Reason Party”.

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy said the extension delivered Daniel Andrews unrestrained power over the lives of regional people.

"The last five-day lockdown - a circuit breaker for COVID cases in Melbourne - saw our kids again told not to go to school, separated us from our loved ones and cost our local businesses tens of thousands of dollars in lost stock and cancelled bookings,” Ms Kealy said.

"Extending the State of Emergency until the end of the year means we'll be in a constant fear of lockdown.

"How can our tourism and hospitality sectors recover if people have no confidence that planning a weekend away won't end in mass cancellations at the last minute?"

The Health Minister has refused to guarantee that regional Victorians won't be locked down again due to COVID outbreaks that are entirely limited to Melbourne.

"We know from the successful experience in New South Wales that good contact tracing is the pillar of a good public health strategy," Ms Kealy said.

"But Lowan residents are still living in a state of uncertainty because the Andrews Labor Government still isn't confident it has the basics right.

"A grubby last minute backroom deal with Ali Cupper's Reason Party has helped Daniel Andrews hold onto power for another nine months with no promise that we won't be in and out of statewide lockdown because of outbreaks in Melbourne."

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