The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath said it was disappointing the limit on the number of people allowed to attend Remembrance Day services would impact Gippsland veterans this year.
Ms Bath said with only four active cases of coronavirus state wide she was hopeful that sensible restrictions would be applied to allow outdoor COVIDsafe Remembrance Day services to be held.
“Local Remembrance Day services which normally would normally be held in Gippsland are impacted by the rule that dictates only 10 people can meet outside in a group.
“Remembrance Day is such an important day for our local veterans, their families and many in the Gippsland community, it is extremely frustrating that Daniel Andrews cannot recognise an outdoor service where people can be well spaced presents no risk.
“Service should be able to be conducted outdoors with physical spacing, density quotas and COVIDSafe plans in place.
“There has been no community transmission recorded in regional Victoria since the beginning of September and the current restriction levels for public gatherings in groups is an overreach.
“With up to 50 people allowed to attend outdoor funerals and 70 in outdoor cafés and bars, similar restrictions limit should be applied to Remembrance Day services.
“Gippslanders should be granted the opportunity to safely pay their respects at their local cenotaph.”
Ms Bath said she would like to see a consistent approach applied to outdoor gatherings regardless of activity, especially when Remembrance Day is such an important occasion and crowds can be easily managed.
“Many Gippslanders remain frustrated by the wide variations in restrictions, regarding the inconsistencies as unjust.”
Despite the difficulties in honouring Remembrance Day, Ms Bath is encouraging Gippslanders to pause and pay their respects tomorrow wherever they are.
“Every year at 11am on November 11, we pause to remember the brave men and women who have died or suffered in all wars, conflicts, humanitarian and peace keeping operations.
“This year’s Remembrance Day holds special significance, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It was a time when the world not only welcomed peace with great celebration, but experienced a sombreness for the thousands who never returned home.
“Many Gippslanders had made immense contributions to war, humanitarian and peace keeping efforts, most recently we witnessed the important role the Australian Defence Force undertakes while they conducted rescue and recovery efforts during the East Gippsland bushfire emergency.
“It is important that as a community we continue to mark and honour the sacrifices and commitment of all our brave defence service members – ‘Lest we forget’,” Ms Bath said.