The Nationals Danny O'Brien Gippsland South coronavirus COVID-19 isolation restrictions

Government must clarify confusing directives

The Andrews Government needs to clarify a number of the confusing directions it has issued in the last few weeks to deal with the coronavirus crisis, in particular allowing people to travel to holiday homes.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he was reluctant to be critical of the government at this difficult time, but the community is confused about some of the restrictions and mixed messages coming from government.

“I am particularly concerned that again yesterday, the Chief Health Officer has indicated that it is acceptable for people to travel to their holiday homes, when both he and the Premier have made strong statements against any travel and local communities do not want additional visitors at this point.

“It pains me to say it, but we don’t want visitors at this time because of the pressure on our supermarkets and other stores in terms of supply as well as the prospective impact on small, limited health services.

“The government advice that it is okay to travel to a holiday home contradicts the clear stay-at-home message.”

Mr O’Brien said he was sympathetic to the difficulty the government faces in getting out a clear message while also allowing people to have some level of normality.

“The problem is, these restrictions are likely to last for six months or more and they have to be sustainable.

“Telling people they can go to Bunnings on a weekend or have a haircut, but they can’t go fishing off a beach on their own, solo hunting, or take their teenage learner driver for a drive is confusing and not in the spirit of the restrictions.

“I understand that this is an unprecedented situation and governments at all levels are doing their best, but it’s important that these messages are cleared up as soon as possible.”

Mr O’Brien again called for holiday home owners not to visit this Easter or until the crisis is over unless absolutely necessary, and asked local accommodation providers to reject any bookings.

“I know this hurts and has a huge impact on our community, but the more we ensure we stick to the rules and limit the spread of this virus, the more success that we will have.

“Already we are seeing through the imposition of these movement restrictions and quarantine for overseas travellers that the number of new cases is falling, which is a good sign, but it is early days yet.”

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