Regional Victorian communities demand an iron-clad assurance from the Victorian Premier that Melbourne and Mitchell Shire’s Restricted Area lockdown is being enforced.
Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie said mayors from across northern Victorian border communities highlighted a range of issues the state border closure has caused for their communities.
However, the most concerning matter facing people the length of the Victorian-NSW border and rural and regional Victorian districts is the arrival of Melbourne residents blatantly flouting travel restrictions.
“I’m shocked that despite the current lockdown there’s cars from Melbourne still rocking up to regional towns from Bendoc in the East to Mildura in the North West corner,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Our regional communities must have an assurance from Premier Daniel Andrews that the Victorian Government is treating the lockdown zone around Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as seriously as NSW treats the border crossings.
“Here on the state border every single car, truck, bicycle and pedestrian is being stopped and checked by ADF personnel and police but it sounds like Melbournians are still escaping en masse to regional communities. That’s just not good enough.”
“A hard lockdown around Melbourne should mean a hard lockdown: it doesn’t mean you can go in and out at your pleasure.
“A lack of resources is no excuse, the Federal Government is ready to provide any additional support needed by the Victorian Government, including any on-the-ground support needed to maintain checkpoints.
“While we all feel for Melbournians and need to support each other, just as we do in times of droughts, floods and fire, regional Australians are not immune.
“If Melbournians don’t want to listen to their local authorities, we implore you to listen to your regional neighbours – please stay home during the lockdown. We will welcome you with open arms when we can but now is not that time.”