20 July 2021

Premier putting Victorian lives at risk with ‘come home before midnight’ directive

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty says Premier Daniel Andrews is risking road deaths as Victorians race home before the borders close at midnight.

The Premier announced today that from midnight tonight, any Victorians who are in NSW will not be allowed to return home.

Mr Quilty said the announcement will lead to an increased risk of road traffic accidents as panicked Victorians drop everything and try to get home.

“This has happened before, Victorians outside the state hear the announcement, become gripped by fear, and end up making bad decisions” Mr Quilty said.

“We’ve already seen fatal road crashes as people race to beat border closures.

“The unsafe driving during the stampede to get to Victoria during the New Year border closure should surely have been enough to convince Mr Andrews how dangerous this sort of directive is.

“The Hume Highway is going to be extremely busy today and I hope everybody gets home safely.”

Mr Quilty condemned the callousness of the announcement.

“This is the ultimate in authoritarian, aggressive and nasty policy, telling somebody they are not allowed to go home even though they have done nothing wrong,” Mr Quilty said.

“I’m sure a terrible sense of panic and fear has gripped the countless Victorians who are in NSW for work, to visit family or to help a friend.

“Border residents have seen this before – people stranded on the wrong side of the river for weeks, often literally forced to sleep in their cars, begging to be allowed home.”

Mr Quilty said while some might agree with the Premier that people who get stuck deserve it, that is a callous position to take.

“We can’t know people’s reasons for inter-state travel - some will involve extremely sensitive or compassionate matters, and we know this is going derail people’s lives,” Mr Quilty said.

“We’ve been here before - I know I am going to hear another stack of stories of people forbidden to see dying family members, people trapped away from home and support.

“My office has been receiving calls from people who are quite literally buckling under the strain, and I suspect there will be even more calls from people who have been left stranded by the Victorian Government.”