Regional Victorians have done the heavy lifting to stop the spread of COVID-19 with restrictions to be eased from 11.59pm tomorrow night (Wednesday 16 September).

Each and every country Victorian has been forced to make massive sacrifices to get to this point.

People have given up time with family and friends.

We’ve missed weddings and saying a final farewell to those who are most important to us.

Businesses have closed and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their job.

"It is a breakthrough but none of this has happened by magic, " said Member for Benambra Bill Tilley.

"The sheer sacrifice and discipline of business and our community have been key drivers in getting to this point.

"I want to thank everyone who has had the faith, trust, support and encouragement to tell me their story so that we could then tell the Victorian Government what was really going on out here.

"We are already talking and lobbying the NSW government seeking changes to accommodate a cross Border lifestyle.

"Here in Victoria we need the Labor Government to go back and look at the benchmark to shift to the Last Step in their plan – the idea that the earliest this is going to happen is 23 November and only if we get to zero new cases state-wide for 14 days is seemingly impossible."

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While it was announced today kids will return to school in Term 4 and that some businesses, including beauty and personal care that have campaigned to reopen at the Third Step, will be able to safely reopen, many will continue to pay the price for Daniel Andrews’ incompetent mismanagement of hotel quarantine in Melbourne.

Despite very low case numbers across regional Victoria, restrictions on indoor dining will force our local cafes and restaurants to make tough decisions on whether it’s viable to open after months of little to no income.

Families will still have to make the painful choice of deciding which loved ones can attend weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies and who will miss out, under severe restrictions on public gatherings.

And the Andrews Labor Government still hasn’t resolved problems in the food supply chain that limit meat processors and distribution centres to two-thirds of their workforce as demand grows over spring and in the lead up to Christmas.

Regional Victorians have done the hard work to get to this point.

We’ve paid a heavy price for the Andrews Labor Government’s botched hotel quarantine and abysmal contact tracing.

Daniel Andrews dropped the ball before and it forced Victoria into the second wave.

Dan’s ‘Ring of Steel’ out of Melbourne has proved to be nothing but a ring of marshmallow. Businesses and communities will be relying on the government to step up enforcement so we can have confidence in recovery.



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