Community groups return ignored by Labor

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath called for restrictions to be lifted on community groups, vital in maintaining community connectedness in Gippsland.

During State Parliament last week Ms Bath detailed how Gippsland community groups are desperate to meet again after being separated during the first and second wave of coronavirus restrictions.

Ms Bath said she had a been contacted by a quite number of community organisations who were frustrated they remained banned from meeting despite their being no community transmission in regional Victoria since the 2nd of September.

“It is very hard to justify why our community groups cannot meet when the Andrews Labor Government have deemed it safe for community sport to return, 10 people to meet in indoor recreation spaces and 20 in the whole facility, 20 in indoor non-contact and 20 in churches.

“I have been contacted by Men’s Sheds, the CWA, Girl Guides, Scouts, craft clubs and even the Morwell Lapidary Club who are at a loss why they still cannot meet.

Ms Bath said our community has been locked away from each other for many months and groups must be given the opportunity to return with COVID-safe plans.

“The Premier must relax the rules for community groups and cease unreasonable excessive control over people’s lives.

“Any enforceable COVID-19 restrictions should be determined using sensible health guidelines based on people density quotas as used in other states, rather than picking and choosing activities that are in or out.

Ms Bath said with Gippsland having no active cases for weeks, forcing unreasonable restrictions upon the community without releasing the science behind the rules is unfair and adds to COVID fatigue.

“Community groups play an important role in many of our lives and they are central to our social wellbeing in regional communities.

“They foster learning, offer support, enhance pride, spirt and connection all virtues that are very much needed during incredibly trying times.

“As we begin to emerge from the second lockdown, there’s never been a more important time to embrace the role of our community groups when so many are struggling with their mental and physical wellbeing.”

“I am calling to the Premier to recognise the important role community groups play and nuance the roadmap rules to allow their safe return.”