Statement from Damian Drum, Federal Member for Nicholls:
Having failed once, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews must spare no cost or resource in ensuring regional Victoria is protected from people wanting to leave Melbourne and its harsh COVID-19 restrictions.
As has been done on the NSW-Victorian border, an online permit system must urgently be implemented for those who have a critical need to come to regional Victoria.
Anyone without a permit must not be allowed to leave Greater Melbourne.
Anything short of a permit system runs the risk of the virus being brought into the regions as it did in July when Mr Andrews’s so-called “ring of steel” in fact turned out to be nothing more than a ring of marshmallow.
That pathetic checkpoint resulted in people continually driving into regional Victoria for reasons such as shopping and sightseeing, spreading the virus into communities that were then subjected to restrictions through absolutely no fault of their own.
This cannot be allowed to happen again.
If, for some reason, a localised COVID-19 outbreak occurs in regional Victoria, then that outbreak should be treated with a localised shutdown.
We must not return to a situation where regional Victoria is wrongly treated as one entity.
I am happy regional Victorians can now enjoy greater freedom of movement.
Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Labor Government must ensure this remains the case.