Regional Victoria is reluctantly re-entering Stage 3 COVID restrictions this week.
Like all Victorians, we have done our bit to stop the spread of coronavirus, to save lives and to protect the future of our country businesses and communities.
We feel utterly let down by the Andrews Labor Government.
Main streets of our country towns will struggle to survive this second round of shutdowns.
Shutdowns that are a direct result of Daniel Andrews’ failure to manage hotel quarantine and contact tracing on massive outbreaks in Melbourne.
Many more country Victorians will lose their job. Many more of our small businesses will be forced to close their doors.
Our cafes, restaurants and pubs in country towns that have not recorded a single case of coronavirus but now face six weeks of shutdowns are questioning why we are wearing the disastrous consequences of the Andrews Labor Government’s mismanagement of this crisis.
Daniel Andrews says every decision is ‘based on the data’.
But while Melbourne and Mitchell Shire have been singled out – based on the data – a blanket shutdown has been imposed for regional Victoria.
There is still time to change this decision before more people are put out of work and small businesses close.
The Andrews Government must urgently review postcode level data to put restrictions in place where they are needed most, while ensuring towns that haven’t recorded positive cases can survive.
Today, despite assurances to our meat sector last week, the Andrews Labor Government still announced strict measures for all abattoirs that will severely limit operations.
After the first abattoir outbreak at Cedar Meats in May, the Premier promised to work with industry to make sure they could safely continue to operate. That work didn’t happen and now industry faces more restrictions.
The next six weeks will be some of the most difficult we have ever faced as country Victorians.
It has never been more important to reach out to family, friends and neighbours, to check in with vulnerable people in your community, to buy local whenever you can and to pull together and embrace the proud community spirit our country towns are famous for.
We are all in this together.