Members Statement – Changes to restrictions

Ever since restrictions eased last week in regional Victoria, my phone has been running hot with small and family businesses furious at the extreme approach the Andrews Labor government has taken and the lack of clarity and rationale provided.

I’ve had calls from the hospitality industry—where restrictive patron caps rather than a density quota will mean for many it’s not viable to open their doors. One of the venues can hold close to 1000 yet are now limited to only 10 indoors, which means they are operating under a density quota of one person per 360 square metres.

A local real estate agent explained to me how under these latest restrictions they are allowed just 10 people in their office, despite having appropriate space to safely seat more with social distancing. Setting up additional staff at home is expensive for a small business already hit hard by successive lockdowns and impractical for the work they do.

I’ve had calls from gym and swimming pool owners who don’t understand why they have again been forgotten by the Premier and his Labor government. I’ve had calls from local religious leaders struggling to understand why they are so restricted again.

Just a few weeks ago, when restrictions eased in regional areas after lockdown 6, all these businesses and facilities were allowed to open and we showed it could be done safely with density quotas and other rules.

They don’t understand how the rules have changed so much in just a few short weeks, they don’t understand why they are back under such heavy and inconsistent restrictions and they want—they need—to know the plan forward.

The delta variant has changed the response, but let’s be clear: it’s not new. The delta variant has been around for three lockdowns now in regional Victoria and the community was able to keep each other safe, and stay open.

The Andrews Labor government must explain to Victorians how they came to these restrictions; they must, as my old maths teacher would say, show their working. They cannot hide behind a ‘public health team’; they must explain to suffering Victorians how they reached the conclusion that density quotas are no longer safe, and that gyms and pools can no longer open.

The Andrews government must also provide all Victorians with hope—they need to release a road map; they must show us what we are aiming for, what will get us out of these restrictions once and for all. Victorians need a plan, Dan.

Related Posts