Friday, October 2, 2020

Move Mildura to last-step restrictions soon, says Ali Cupper

MILDURA would return to one step away from COVID-normal by the end of September if a bold four-point plan submitted to the Victorian Government is approved.

Member for Mildura Ali Cupper has submitted the proposal for the government's consideration after Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday released his gradual and staged "roadmap" out of strict COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.

Under the government's plan, all regional Victoria would remain under the same restrictions, with a last step before COVID-normal only possible from November 23 if there have been no new cases across regional Victoria for 14 days.

However, under Ms Cupper's plan, the Mildura electorate would move straight to the "last step" if the region met the threshold of fewer than five new daily cases averaged over 14 days from September 13.

Ms Cupper said the Victorian Government's regional "roadmap" did not meet the needs of the Mildura electorate and her proposal would allow for an earlier easing of restrictions while introducing more movement across borders and a travel bubble with South Australia.

"This would allow our restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs to reopen indoors with patron limits -- similar to what we had during the stage 2 lockdown," Ms Cupper said.

"It would allow for larger numbers at weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies as well as allowing things like gyms to reopen and community sport to restart," she said.

Ms Cupper said it was important to note the Mildura electorate had been coronavirus-free for many months, with only one case attributed since April.

"The data shows we have met the threshold criteria the entire time anyway," she said.

"We can't have a situation where our electorate is being kept shut -- and only reopening at very slow intervals -- over the coming weeks and months due to cases hundreds of kilometres away.

"We have and can continue to keep ourselves safe and COVID-19 free, while at the same time allowing our businesses and residents a semblance of COVID-normal much sooner than has been forecast."

Ms Cupper said with an impending easing of restrictions in Victoria, there was an opportunity for both NSW and SA to further soften their border closures.

She said allowing unrestricted daily freedom of movement for residents in the defined border zones should begin immediately and the SA Government must look at introducing a "border bubble" with the Mildura electorate, at least for the purposes of medical services.

Ms Cupper has also written to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlining her four-part recovery plan for north-west Victoria.

Regional Victoria recorded no new cases in the 24 hours to Tuesday and cases in the regions have fallen to 82, with Mr Andrews saying "you are all doing an amazing job".

#FIXEDIT CAMPAIGN – the road to recovery:

1. Skip the "third step" if the threshold of less than five new daily cases is averaged over the 14 days from September 13.

2. Expand third-round extension of business grants immediately to include sole traders – the Victorian Government to provide a second round of business grant payments during the "second step".

3. Continue JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments at current rate until the end of 2020.

4. NSW and SA governments to allow freedom of movement for daily living within their defined border zones and an SA travel bubble for Mildura electorate residents to allow travel to Adelaide for medical purposes.