Regional Victorian business owners have again been forcibly closed by Labor’s ongoing mismanagement of Victoria’s hotel quarantine program.
A hard-statewide lock down was issued by the Premier, Daniel Andrews last Friday only days after he boasted Victoria’s hotel quarantine program was ‘gold star’.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath today expressed extreme concern for Gippsland’s regional economy and local businesses as the Premier doubled down, backing in his controversial lockdown.
“The collateral damage inflicted on the regional economy by Daniel Andrews is unjustifiable and the stress on the business community and employees is immense,” said Ms Bath.
“This latest lockdown shows the Premier is incapable of protecting Victorians with his current public health response.
“Gippsland business people are at their wits end, finding it incomprehensible that an outbreak in Melbourne can trigger a full closure of our regional economy and keep country Victorians locked up.”
Ms Bath said her electorate office had been contacted by many frustrated business people, devastated and angry by the Premier’s snap restrictions.
“The pain of last year is fresh in the minds of Gippslanders, who still carry the mental and financial scars of 2020,” said Ms Bath.
“One business owner today described the pain of the latest lockdown on their employees saying ‘the depression and stress being faced by my staff is real’, going on to explain ‘people in Gippsland are just sick of it, tired of the unfair rules, something has got to give – we simply cannot go on supporting the notion we must all suffer together, it’s just plain dumb’.
“To force Gippsland florists, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hairdressers, beauticians and our retail sector to cease trading is completely unjustifiable and reckless mismanagement by our narcissistic Premier.”
Ms Bath said lockdowns should be a last response and Gippsland business owners want to see Victoria adopt rapid localised COVID restrictions like NSW did during its northern beach outbreak.
“The NSW state government demonstrated you don’t have destroy the economy, punish workers, slam borders shut or sacrifice the education of young people to get on top of COVID outbreaks.
“A proportionate response that balances the economy and people’s mental wellbeing is desperately needed in Victoria.
“If the Premier decides this lockdown is to be extended in any capacity past Wednesday, then he must re-establish the regional metro border to allow country people to get on with their lives.”