MEDIA RELEASE

6 July 2020

 

Tim Quilty slams closure of Victoria-NSW border, says communities will be wrecked

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has said the decision to close the border between Victoria and NSW will wreck communities and could lead to mental health issues.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement this morning as a result of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction of the very worst kind, made with absolutely no consideration of regional Victoria,” Mr Quilty said.

“The border closure is going to wreck communities like Wodonga, Cobram, Yarrawonga and Echuca and create havoc for families who live on one side of the border but work or need health treatment, child care or study on the other side.

“NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a permit system will be introduced and she emphasised that the first 72 hours will be difficult until appropriate permits can be issued.

“Residents in Victoria who need to cross into NSW will be feeling like they are in some sort of war film – having a uniformed officer challenge you will create extreme anxiety and will lead to people missing vital appointments.

“This confronting situation will no doubt cause mental health issues in people who are already suffering due to the stress of the coronavirus crisis.”

Mr Quilty said Premier Andrews has demonstrated that he is unfit to hold his position as leader of Victoria.

“Mr Andrews has completely let down all of regional Victoria and should be handing in his resignation immediately. His handling of this situation has been abysmal,” Mr Quilty said.

“This is nothing more than a desperate bid to be seen as tough to try to restore his shattered credibility after the debacle of the “quarantine” hotels – COVID-19 incubator hotels would be a more accurate description – and bugger the regions.

“As for his Labor colleague Jaclyn Symes, who claims to be a member for Northern Victoria – supposedly representing our interests, not those of Melbourne, she should be facing the residents of regional Victoria to explain how we have ended up in this mess.

“The phone has started ringing already – the public are not happy about this, and neither am I.”

Mr Quilty said he hopes the Victorian Premier has stressed to Ms Berejiklian the need for a robust permit application system.

“Many thousands of families will be logging on at the same time, from both sides of the border, looking to do the right thing and get the appropriate permit before facing NSW Police officers on the border,” Mr Quilty said.

“Mums taking kids to daycare, patients with vital appointments to keep, people who are simply trying to get to work – Mr Andrews had all of these families to think of when he enthusiastically welcomed the NSW decision.”

Mr Quilty emphasised how regional Victoria is made to suffer the consequences of decisions made in Melbourne, for Melbourne.

“While I understand that Melbourne is showing a rise in the number of cases, this is a Melbourne problem and restrictions should focus firmly on Melbourne,” Mr Quilty said.

“If a closure system has to be introduced it should be on the major roads out of Melbourne: regional Victoria should not be paying the price for mistakes in Melbourne.

“We haven’t had a case in the regions for three months – and all the cases we had before then came out of Melbourne.

“We are being governed by muppets from Melbourne who are not standing up for Victoria and fighting to keep the border open. Something has to break.

“Yet again, the idea of Rexit – a separation of regional Victoria from Melbourne – makes absolute sense.

“Metropolitan decision-makers are proving yet again their complete ignorance of regional Victoria.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819