Daniel Andrews’ city-centric shutdowns are unfairly costing jobs in Gippsland.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said Daniel Andrews sudden weekend backflip on coronavirus restrictions blindsided local restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars that had prepared to open for 50 diners.
“Gippsland hospitality business owners are devastated, they had ordered food, rostered staff, booked tables, only to have the rug pulled from underneath them at the eleventh hour”, Ms Bath said.
“Hogs Breath in Traralgon not only had they meticulously prepared their restaurant for 50 patrons, they paid for advertisements seeking new staff whose employment will now be delayed.
“Coronavirus shutdowns have damaged so many Gippsland businesses and had wide sweeping impacts on the hospitality industry.
“While some eateries were trying to make the 20 patrons restriction work, others has been waiting for the 50 patron criteria to commence because of financial viability.
“Frustratingly, business owners have been forced to call up staff and patrons over the weekend and tell them don’t come in.”
Ms Bath said the Andrews Government has been quick to consider strict lockdowns to high risk suburbs in Melbourne, but it should go both ways.
“The Premier must recognise Gippsland in a low risk context and allow our hospitality industry to get back to business.
“But as it now stands, our local workers and business owners are being unfairly punished by Daniel Andrews’ city-centric focus and it is costing Gippslanders jobs.
“The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ May workforce data release showed the Latrobe-Gippsland suffered the greatest job losses of all regions in Victoria due to COVID-19.
“Of the 15,000 regional jobs lost in Victoria, 6100 were in Latrobe Gippsland region, representing over 40% of all regional jobs lost.
“Gippsland’s economy cannot afford city centric Daniel Andrews economic mismanagement.”
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh said Daniel Andrews was constantly shifting the goal posts at the cost of local jobs.
“Many regional towns have never recorded a single positive coronavirus case, but Daniel Andrews has dragged us back into lockdown because of outbreaks in Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews sent the message that it’s okay to break the rules when he allowed 10,000 protestors to meet in Melbourne’s CBD a few weeks ago – in direct breach of social distancing rules.
“Daniel Andrews needs to explain why his mismanagement of coronavirus should cost country Victorians’ jobs.”