14 September 2021

Border brokers address a problem created by Victorian Government

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty says the newly announced Border Brokers will address problems created by the Victorian Government.

Victoria’s Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas made the announcement with the promise the brokers would support industries and businesses hit by border restrictions.

Mr Quilty said that while he welcomes any help for border communities, the brokers will only be helping fix problems caused by the Andrews Government.

“I hope this initiative will help our border communities deal with the wilful damage inflicted on us by our city-focused governments,” Mr Quilty said.

“The closures have been a relentless and devastating problem for Victorian and NSW border communities and it will take years for the wounds to heal.

“The Victorian and NSW governments have been falling over themselves to create chaos on both sides of the border, wilfully ignorant of the damage.

“They even went as far as to acknowledge the problems, then shrugged their shoulders and carried on pretending to be helping Melbourne and Sydney.”

Mr Quilty said the Victorian Government would be able to help border communities more effectively – and at zero cost to taxpayers – by easing restrictions which are suffocating businesses, and by re-inflating the border bubble.

“While Melbourne is on a trajectory to catch Sydney COVID cases, we have no cases in the majority of regional Victoria, or in most of the border areas of NSW. Lockdown has – officially - ended, and yet we are still restricted in what we can do,” Mr Quilty said.

“We should be opening the border back up for bubble residents to cross freely, and lifting the restrictions on businesses.

“Only permitting 10 people inside a restaurant or café means reopening is almost unviable, because the fixed costs will be more than the revenue from such a small customer base.

“Many hospitality businesses will continue to struggle, and I doubt the border brokers will be able to do anything to help.”

Mr Quilty expressed hope for the brokers, saying they could help Premier Daniel Andrews gain a clearer understanding of his actions.

“I perhaps the border brokers will be able to paint a clearer picture for Mr Andrews of the destruction he has caused hundreds of kilometres away from his offices,” Mr Quilty said.

“However, the Melbourne government either failed to listen to the Border Commissioners, or the Commissioners failed to speak up for their communities. It isn’t clear why a few more Labor-appointed ‘brokers’ will make a difference – the Andrews Government still won’t give a stuff about the regions.

“At least the creation of these roles can be seen as an admission they have screwed up and need to at least be seen to be doing something to address the failures of the last 19 months.

“But I very much doubt these brokers will stop Mr Andrews sending regional Victoria broke.”