The Nationals Gippsland South coronavirus Danny O'Brien Coronavirus restrictions restrictions Small business Business local business economy local economy state of emergency state of emergency powers state of emergency extensions

Confidence hit as state of COVID uncertainty to continue until end of year

Local business confidence in Gippsland will take a hit after support from crossbench MPs allowed the Andrews Labor Government to extend state of emergency powers 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 decision-making.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said the most recent 5-day snap lockdown and comments from Premier Daniel Andrews that he won’t hesitate to do it again had sapped confidence from local business and kept everyone on edge.

“Business people I have spoken to in the past few weeks have said that lockdown hit them hard just as they were starting to recover.  They also report that consumers have become far more wary given the threat of lockdowns hanging over the community now.

"The last lockdown - a circuit breaker for COVID cases in Melbourne – hit Gippsland hard.  It saw our kids needlessly kept home from school, caused numerous local events to be cancelled and cost our local businesses tens of thousands of dollars in lost stock and cancelled bookings,” Mr O’Brien said.

“One bus company told me they lost $10,000 in booking and countless losses in forward cancellations, while restaurants, pubs and cafes lost stock they’d ordered in preparation for a busy Valentine’s Day.

The extension was supported by Mildura MP Ali Cupper’s Reason Party as well as the Animal Justice Party and The Greens.

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

"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?"

"We know from the successful experience in New South Wales that good contact tracing is the pillar of a good public health strategy,” Mr O’Brien said.

"But Gippslanders will still be living in a state of uncertainty because the Andrews Labor Government still isn't confident it has the basics right.”


5 March 2021

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