Member for Benambra Bill Tilley MLA has called on the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to lift Stage 3 restrictions on the region.

Mr Tilley fears the Premier’s reluctance to detail the exit strategy from Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdown has serious implications for regional Victoria and potentially lead to the continuation of the current restrictions.

Mr Tilley says Albury/Wodonga is not a satellite city of Melbourne and is far less exposed to the current COVID-19 outbreak. NSW’s plans to ease the criteria applied to cross border permits must be complemented by a similar show of faith from the Victorian Government.

WHAT:  Amend the public health order to ease Stage 3 restrictions on the Border community that complements NSW orders and affords us the opportunity to function economically, open schools and return to a COVID-normal life. A stronger ring around Melbourne.

WHY: This region has been almost entirely COVID-free. Businesses, education, healthcare and families are needlessly struggling and paying the price for Melbourne’s quarantine hotel debacle. Public policy accepts Albury/Wodonga and its surrounding districts as one entity and the health orders and regulations should respect that interdependency.

WHEN: To coincide with NSW Border permit relaxation and no later than the end of the current orders on September 13.

Comments attributable to Member for Benambra Bill Tilley:

This is lazy policy that echoes the city-centric response that has been a feature of how the Premier and his gang have handled this crisis.

I don’t accept Jaclyn Symes position that it will be discussed in the week leading up to September 13, we need assurances now.

Increasingly, I fear we will have another three weeks added to the restrictions to take in the school holidays and further penalise our businesses and small towns.

We should be able to travel freely in the region, but Melburnians need to stay put. Back at the start of August Daniel Andrews own press release said he would put a ring around Melbourne to protect regional Victoria.

That didn’t happen, we’ve had every man and his dog up here doing work that could be done locally and reports that Melburnians are staying at their holiday apartments at Falls Creek, when nearby locals who are following the rules can’t even get access to the National Park, is an absolute joke.



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