Shepparton COVID-19

Vic Government questioned on its confusion, mismanagement of Shepparton outbreak

30 August 2021

The Nationals have today pushed the Andrews Labor Government to answer key questions on the Shepparton COVID outbreak, including concerns about lengthy waiting times at testing sites and chaotic contact tracing.

Ninety-nine positive cases are now linked to the Shepparton cluster with 60 exposure sites.

In a briefing with the state’s COVID commander Jeroen Weimar this afternoon, Nationals MPs asked the Andrews Government to explain the changing classification of exposure sites.

Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said students and teachers at the Shepparton superschool’s Mooroopna campus, who were told they should isolate on Friday August 20 because the school had recorded a positive case, were informed on Saturday night that the site had been downgraded to a tier two.

“Thousands of people across Shepparton have been in isolation, forcing much of the city to grind to a halt because a third of the population couldn’t go to work. The reclassification of exposure sites has been confusing for many, particularly when the department’s website has not always reflected up to date information,” Ms Ryan said.

“Others have received text messages from the Department of Health informing them that they were a Tier 1 close contact from the Central Park Recreation Reserve Community Centre, before being informed it was sent in error.

“With day 13 testing looming for thousands of Shepparton locals, it is vital that the government properly resources testing sites to ensure people aren’t stuck in lengthy queues.”

Ms Ryan said some locals had told her that they rated the handling of the outbreak as 1 out of 10, with no strategy underpinning many of the government’s decisions.

Nationals MPs had also raised concerns about the mental health impacts of the lockdowns and the significant cleaning bill hitting venues deemed to be exposure sites.

“With the list of exposure sites in the region growing, the Andrews Government needs to meet 100 per cent of the cleaning bill for businesses forced to close,” Ms Ryan said.

“It is concerning that some businesses are not opening because after repeated lockdowns they can’t afford to pay for the cleaning bill that results from becoming an exposure site.”

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