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COVID-19 Community Update: state of emergency and update on local cases (3 September)

03 September 2020


A lot has happened this week. Premier Daniel Andrews obtained a six-month extension to the state of emergency. Sunday is also expected to bring new information on what restrictions will look like after September 13, when the current restrictions expire.

EXTENSION OF VICTORIA’S STATE OF EMERGENCY

Last week the Andrews Government announced that it would move to indefinitely extend State of Emergency powers. This means the government does not need the approval of the Parliament to extend restrictions.

This raised some very serious concerns for me and my National Party colleagues, as it did with for many people across our electorate and around the state.

We sought to amend the legislation to require the government to obtain the Parliament’s approval on a month-by-month basis, however, Labor struck a deal with MPs from the Greens, the Reason Party (formerly known as the Sex Party) and the Animal Justice Party in order to pass a six-month extension.

I made my concerns about the dangers of the precedent the government set clear to Parliament back in April when Labor first sought to bypass the Parliament and concentrate power in the hands of just a handful of Cabinet Ministers. You can read that contribution here.

NEXT STAGE OF RESTRICTIONS

The Premier has said that he plans to outline this Sunday what will happen once the current set of restrictions expire on September 13. I understand this will include a different plan for regional Victoria.

Leaked documents today suggest the government is considering minimal changes to restrictions.

I believe the government needs to seriously consider easing restrictions in areas or municipalities with low or no COVID-19 cases,  recommencement of onsite learning for students in Term 4,

harmonisation of restrictions for cross-border communities, an easing of restrictions on weddings, funerals and religious services while respecting the need for social distancing and the resumption of junior and community sport.

I will provide an update on any announcements made as soon as possible.

LOCAL COVID-19 CASES

As of this morning, there are 113 new active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 591 Victorians have died and 16,152 have recovered.

There are currently 2,295 active cases across the state.

Locally, there are still a number of active cases in Mitchell, Campaspe, Shepparton and Bendigo.

Active cases by postcode across the electorate are as below.

VCE STUDENTS

Due to the enormous disruption COVID has had on students completing their VCE, this year every student will be individually assessed.

Previously, students were given special consideration on a case by case basis.

The individual assessment will look at things like school closures, long absences, significant increases in family responsibilities and mental health.

More details on these changes can be found here, under VCE – Consideration of Educational Disadvantage.

UPDATE ON JOBKEEPER

On 7 August 2020 the federal government announced further changes to the JobKeeper extension eligibility criteria in order to broaden its scope.
 
On Friday 14 August, new rules were formalised to allow businesses to claim JobKeeper for a broader range of employees, by enabling employers to assess eligible employees at 1 July 2020 instead of 1 March 2020. 

The changes apply to JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020, so time is of the essence. Employers must identify and notify eligible employees by this Friday 21 August. 

Details here.

BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND EXPANSION

Now that the JobKeeper Payment eligibility has changed, more businesses are eligible for funding from the Business Support Fund Expansion.

Businesses that have not previously applied for this funding, who are now eligible for JobKeeper, should apply for the Business Support Fund Expansion here.

UPDATE ON NSW-VIC CROSS-BORDER PERMITS

A single border region will be reinstated that extends to around 50 kilometres on either side of the border.

The new border region and ‘border region resident’ permit comes into effect at 12:01am tonight. Victorians who need to travel to NSW and who live outside of the border region still need to obtain a permit. You can check your eligibility and apply for a permit here.

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