The Nationals’ plan to better protect Gippsland from Melbourne’s COVID outbreaks

Increasing the number of temperature tests at lockdown checkpoints and mandating the use of masks on public transport services out of Melbourne are being called for by The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath.

Residents of Baw Baw Shire and Latrobe City are very concerned about coronavirus spreading into regional Victoria from hotspots in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Ms Bath said the recent case of a Melbourne woman forcing the shutdown of a number businesses in East Gippsland after breaching lockdown rules showed more must be done to protect country communities.

“The last thing any of us want to see is another lockdown in regional Victoria that puts further stress on local residents and businesses,” Ms Bath said.

“The Andrews Government has a responsibility to make sure adequate checks are in place to make sure people coming from lockdown zones aren’t putting our communities at risk.

“Baw Baw Shire and Latrobe City are a thoroughfare into metropolitan Melbourne, with some residents commuting daily for work and education and we want to protect these individuals and their loved ones.”

The Nationals are calling on the Andrews Government to immediately implement temperature checks at lockdown checkpoints and for V/Line passengers and staff before getting on buses and trains.

Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said it should also be mandatory to wear face masks on V/Line services between Melbourne and regional Victoria.

“We will only get one opportunity to avoid a second lockdown in regional Victoria. We must all do the right thing now to prevent more lives being lost and more of our country businesses closing,” Mr Walsh said.

“The hotel quarantine debacle has been a monumental failure of the Andrews Labor Government, Victorians can’t afford any more failures in containing this virus.”

The Nationals’ plan also calls for any employee travelling out of the lockdown zone for work to have a COVID safety plan and for improvements to response and reporting times for tests and contact tracing.