12 July 2021

Tim Quilty says damage caused by border closure far outweighs any benefits

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has condemned the closure of Victoria’s border as ‘just more COVID theatre for the Melbourne voters’.

Mr Quilty said the damage this closure will do to the regional economy far outweighs any benefits.

“No doubt the lockdown is consistent with the Government’s own carefully chosen experts’ advice, but we’re not allowed to know what that advice is because they keep it secret,” Mr Quilty said.

“We can’t know how they are weighing up the risks versus the rewards of the closure but it’s likely they haven’t paid any attention at all to the impact on border communities.

“There are families who are at risk of losing a breadwinner, people denied medical treatment, businesses with no choice but to shed staff or to close, communities split apart by these exaggerated decrees from Melbourne.”

Mr Quilty said there are businesses which have been battling hard against the damage from previous closures, a fight which seems to have no end in sight.

“One business owner came to my office today, at his wits’ end after this latest closure,” Mr Quilty said.

“He and his partner live and operate in the border bubble, but their customer base has all but evaporated thanks to border closures, confusion and uncertainty.

“They are eating into their savings which is an unsustainable position to be in, but as sole traders they have been struggling to get any support or new clients.”

Mr Quilty urged the Victorian Government to take an evidence-based view of the current situation, and said the evidence of border closure damage is plentiful, following the two previous closures.

“We have seen plenty of accounts of harm to mental health, to communities, to education and to local economies, we have seen the disruption this sledgehammer policy of border closure creates, and yet here we are again,” Mr Quilty said.

“It’s time the Victorian Government released the health advice they rely on in making these decisions. I am confident that if they did release it, it would show there was no justification for closing the borders.”

“Again,” Mr Quilty added.