Andrews must explain inconsistent Covid-19 restrictions

31 July 2020

The Andrews Government needs to urgently explain the framework it is using to apply COVID-19 restrictions across Victoria.

Member for Euroa and The Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan has described the government’s decisions on restrictions as “wildly inconsistent”. 

“While I believe a localised approach is sensible wherever possible, Daniel Andrews needs to tell us why the Mitchell Shire in Stage 3 lockdown while a different set of rules are being applied to regional areas where case numbers are much greater,” Ms Ryan said.

“I’m concerned that there’s no science behind the government’s decisions. It all seems to be ad hoc which is creating uncertainty and confusion.”

Households and businesses across Mitchell Shire were put into stage 3 lockdown on July 9 with metropolitan Melbourne, when there were five active coronavirus cases.  

In comparison, as of yesterday, the City of Greater Geelong has 59 active cases, and Colac-Otway Shire has 76 and yet Daniel Andrews has applied a much looser set of restrictions for those areas, Ms Ryan said. 

“For example, people in those areas are still allowed to travel outside the restricted area and restaurants and cafes can continue to seat patrons.

“These areas have more than three times the active case numbers as Mitchell Shire.”

Ms Ryan said the inconsistencies were troubling for businesses across Mitchell which had been forced to close their doors. 

“Not only will the government not say in which part of the shire the active cases in Mitchell are located, but they have now confused everyone by failing to explain why Mitchell is being treated differently to other regional areas like Geelong, despite having lower case numbers. 

“I am calling on Daniel Andrews to tell us how the government determined these restrictions and why Mitchell Shire is different.”

Ms Ryan said if the Mitchell Shire lockdown was a result of the proximity of the shire’s southern boundary to Melbourne and some of the hotspot areas like Kalkallo, Craigieburn, Mickleham and Donnybrook, a similar argument could be made for Geelong which borders the Wyndham Council where there are currently 601 active cases.

Ms Ryan also reiterated her call for postcode based data.

“There is no indication from the government as to whether the cases recorded in Mitchell are in the southern peri-urban end or northern regional end of the shire.

“I have tried on a number of occasions now to obtain a more detailed breakdown of where these cases are.”

Ms Ryan said given the government was providing suburb by suburb data to communities in the city, there was no reason why similar data could not be provided to Mitchell Shire residents.

“Providing case numbers by postcode would ensure residents are informed about the level of risk in their own community, while protecting the privacy of those who are ill,” Ms Ryan said.

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