Businesses need more certainty
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Businesses need more certainty

East Gippsland businesses are being punished as a result of regional Victoria being considered ‘as one’ under the current Coronavirus restrictions.

Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said it was unfair this region was being thrown into the one basket with the likes of Geelong and Colac.

“Six weeks ago we had businesses like cafes, restaurants and pubs open for 20 customers. This resulted in no increased cases and it was seen as the first step back to recovery after the fires and Coronavirus.

“Then, after no fault of East Gippslanders, who were largely doing the right thing, we were forced into further restrictions because of problems in other areas. All the while, nothing has changed here, with rates either low or nil over the ensuing period.

“By all means, keep the strong travel restrictions in place until Melbourne gets itself under control, I strongly support that, but we need to allow East Gippslanders to support East Gippsland businesses as we were successfully doing without impact six weeks ago.

“I was expecting this to be announced on Sunday and am very disappointed we find ourselves, with very low active cases and no new cases, but still no clear way out,” said Mr Bull.

“When the Premier states numbers are still too high in regional Victoria, he is referring to the situations in Geelong and Colac. I don’t consider Geelong part of regional Victoria and we should not be aligned with what is going on in Colac.

“If you look at the thresholds the Government has set, much of country Victoria meets them, but we face the prospect of ongoing lockdowns due to outbreaks in places on the other side of the state. At the very least, the Government should be considering something such as western, northern and eastern Victorian regions.

Mr Bull said he would also ask the government to provide data on geographic location rather than postcode.

“If we are to meet a numbers criteria to get back on track, having cases aligned to home postcode is not accurate. I know of multiple cases where the person contracted Coronavirus in Melbourne, quarantined in Melbourne – but had their cases recorded here because they had a home address in East Gippsland.

“It is not fair that cases such as this are used to stop an area from hitting the required benchmark.

“The response needs to be measured and balanced with community health remaining the priority and that is why the travel restrictions need to be maintained, but we can do this by allowing the restricted opening of our local businesses as we had before and effectively managed,” Mr Bull said.

Monday, September 7, 2020