Regional Victoria COVID-19

Regions out of lockdown, but not out of the woods

09 August 2021

Member for Euroa and deputy Nationals’ leader Steph Ryan has called for businesses in regional and rural communities to be fully compensated for their losses after the Premier’s reasoning for including regional Victoria in the latest lockdown was found to be false.

Ms Ryan said the Premier had relied on a report of Covid fragments allegedly found in wastewater at Wangaratta last month to justify shutting down regional Victoria as well as Melbourne – a justification now found to be in error.

“Regional Victorians have again paid the price for the Andrews Labor Government’s incompetence responding to COVID-19 outbreaks, enduring a sixth lockdown despite no cases or exposure sites in country Victoria,” Ms Ryan said.

“The Premier’s basis for including regional and rural communities since Friday has proven unjustified, with Covid fragements allegedly found in wastewater in Wangaratta last month found to be in error.

“The announcement that lockdown will be lifted in regional Victoria from midnight tonight comes four days too late for hundreds of local businesses now facing financial ruin.

“There is no more in the piggy bank. There is no more tucked away for a rainy day. Even the strongest businesses have now spent their reserves.

“If Daniel Andrews doesn’t start excluding the regions from lockdowns because of metropolitan outbreaks, then the government must fully compensate every business impacted.”

Speaking in Parliament last week, Ms Ryan told Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula of the detrimental impact continued lockdowns on thousands of local businesses across the electorate who had been marked ineligible for business support.

“It is all very well and good for the Andrews Labor Government to pat themselves on the back for a job well done when thousands of regional business owners are pleading for a lifeline,” Ms Ryan said.

“Living under the constant threat of statewide lockdown is killing our communities in regional Victoria.

“Victorians deserve a plan out of lockdown that uses rapid testing so we can have a proportionate, targeted response to outbreaks.

“I will keep fighting for a common sense plan where lockdowns are a last resort – not a first response.”

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