30 July 2020


Tim Quilty says police should be handing out face coverings instead of hefty fines

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has called for Victoria Police to be equipped with supplies of face masks to give to the public in readiness for Monday’s new regulations.

From August 3, all Victorians will be required to wear a face covering while out in public, after Premier Daniel Andrews announced a record high of 723 new COVID-19 cases.

“Masks may well be a good idea for controlling infection, but the Government doesn’t need to make it mandatory with fines,” Mr Quilty said.

“Good ideas do not require force - the Government could simply have told us they are now recommending across Victoria that face coverings are needed when people go out. Most of us would follow the advice – there is no need for heavy handed police enforcement.

“I’d like to see the police handing out masks to people instead of punishing them with fines.

“They should be offering guidance on the best ways to prevent spread, so that everybody knows the best way to stop this virus.”

Mr Quilty said the rule had been introduced with little consideration of how people will be able to comply.

“It’s disappointing that the explosion of cases in Melbourne has led to this knee-jerk response, which will leave huge numbers of regional residents uncertain as to what constitutes a valid face covering,” Mr Quilty said.

“Within an hour of the announcement, the pharmacist near my office had sold out of disposable face masks completely, a situation which I am sure will be repeated across the whole state of Victoria.

“Instead of preparing to hand out fines, the police should be carrying stocks of masks so that we can all help play our part.”

Mr Quilty said the threat of fines was symptomatic of the Victorian Government’s heavy-handed approach to dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

“We have seen from the very start that Mr Andrews prefers to force people to take preventative measures rather than a more collaborative approach,” Mr Quilty said.

“Let the police hand out masks, not fines.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819