Gippsland South The Nationals Danny O'Brien MP conronavirus recovery roadmap recovery roadmap

Labor’s unbalanced “roadmap” leaves Gippsland in dire straits

The “roadmap” out of Covid-19 restrictions is unbalanced and will punish Gippslanders and Gippsland businesses unnecessarily.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, called last week in Parliament for Gippsland locals to be allowed to support local businesses given our low number of cases but under the roadmap, that won’t happen for at least another two months, longer for some businesses.

Mr O’Brien said lumping Gippsland in with all of regional Victoria was unfair.

“On the Government’s own plan, which it says is based on the best scientific advice, the vast majority of regional Victorian shires have had no new cases for 14 days so should be on the last “step” where most restrictions are lifted.

“In Gippsland, Wellington, Bass Coast and East Gippsland already qualify and Baw Baw will qualify this week if it has no new cases.  Based on the thresholds the Government has set, we could remain locked down due to small outbreaks in places like Geelong or Mildura.  At the very least, the Government should be considering something such as western, northern and eastern Victorian regions.

“That way we could safely open up local business and tourism operators to the local market, while maintaining strict travel restrictions to keep people from Melbourne areas with high case-loads out. 

“The roadmap as proposed will devastate many Gippsland businesses and cost more jobs.  I’ve had business people in tears at the announcement yesterday, which robbed them of the hope they were hanging onto.

“I think the Government’s case number thresholds are unrealistic and out of step with other states – if these thresholds were applied to NSW and Queensland, they would be facing far greater restrictions then they currently are.

“This is an awful virus, but I fear the Government has lost sight of the enormous health and economic damage it is doing in trying to deal with the second wave. 

“There are difficult choices here I acknowledge, but the Government’s roadmap lacks balance, sacrificing thousands of jobs, businesses and the mental health of Victorians.”

 

7 September 2020

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