Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie says regional Victorians should not be penalised because of COVID-19 spikes in isolated parts of Melbourne.
Senator McKenzie encouraged Victorians not living in Stage 3 Stay at Home restricted postcode areas and the rest of Australia to support regional businesses and tourist operators by visiting and holidaying in regional Victoria.
Regional Victorians have done the right thing and are not seeing a second wave or a spike in COVID cases.
Many regional Victorian tourism hotspots such as the great Alpine National Park, our beautiful winery regions, the Great Ocean Road, Gippsland and our iconic coastline et cetera have seen little to no coronavirus cases throughout this pandemic.
Those regional small businesses and tourism operators have been suffering extreme economic impacts, not just of COVID-19 but bushfires and drought.
Travel restrictions and some state Border closures mean Victorians can spend holidays, time and dollars in our regions supporting our local tourism operators and enjoying all that regional Victoria has to offer.
We welcome Queenslanders, South Australians and obviously New South Welshmen to come and support our regional communities and enjoy a regional break in the great state of Victoria.
State premiers who say ‘we’re not letting Victorians in’ must realise Victoria is so much more than Melbourne, as we Victorians who choose to live outside Melbourne can attest.
Premiers who are seeking to make political points, political mileage in their home states from the spike that’s occurring in Melbourne, need to accept that living with coronavirus is something we must do, and we all need to change how we behave.
This spike in certain areas of Melbourne is disappointing but all of Victoria should not pay the price.
Localised lockdowns of these Melbourne hotspots is an appropriate response.
These heightened measures mean Victorians from those affected areas are actually unable to travel interstate under these restrictions, making South Australian and Queensland premiers’ media statements on banning Victorians unnecessary, parochial and playing to their own state base.
An appropriate and informed response from those state jurisdictions would be to not blame all Victorians for the careless behaviour of a few Melbournians.
Those of us out in the regions also don’t want people from these hotspots risking the health and life of rural and regional Victorians who have done the right thing and embraced medical directions.
It again shows the importance of following that medical advice, not assuming the worst is over and doing the right thing for all our sakes.