Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, has today slammed Premier Andrew’s decision to class the entirety of regional Victoria as a single unit as ‘beyond belief’.
“The fact that Premier Andrews had to return to the podium to address regional Victoria after finishing his statements on Melbourne and handing over to health officials is typical of what regional Victorian communities have come to expect from this state government. We are being treated as nothing more than an afterthought.” Dr Webster said.
Under the roadmap announced today, a spike in cases in Mallacoota at the other side of the state, 11 hours’ drive away, would see businesses in Mallee shut down.
“To put all of Regional Victoria’s diverse communities into one basket is ridiculous. It is no better than making our roadmap the same as Melbourne. We were promised significant steps forward today but we have been forgotten once more.
“Parts of Mallee have had zero cases for 4 months, while other parts, such as Buloke shire, have never had a case. These areas have already met the ‘trigger points’ for step 3 of the Andrews Government’s new roadmap, but they will be held back by other areas such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The fact we are all considered as a single unit is not fair or reasonable.
“What we need is a clear definition of a hotspot, where community spread is identified, and then ensure reliable testing, tracing and isolation occurs. We need not punish people across the whole state for a relatively small increase in a single community.
This new roadmap will continue mental health issues and anxiety in our communities, and does not give businesses and employers the confidence they need to find a way forward at this difficult time.
“This roadmap needs to be reconsidered from the ground up so that regional Victoria is treated fairly and sensibly. Individual communities need to be treated based on their own circumstances – not on case numbers hundreds of kilometres away.”