MEDIA RELEASE

11 August 2020

 

Why close off wide open spaces of National Parks as part of social distancing rules?

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has questioned the logic behind closing National Parks as part of coronavirus containment measures.

With business operators being forced to close because of the stage three restrictions, Mr Quilty says the Victorian Government seems intent on causing harm.

“Businesses in our National Parks depend on visitors and tourists, particularly following on from the terrible bushfires we endured over summer,” Mr Quilty said.

“I can’t think of a more effective way to isolate than spending time in our great outdoors – camping, fishing, walking, mountain biking.

“All of these activities can be undertaken safely by using the same measures we are being expected to follow in our home towns: social distancing, masks and hand sanitiser.

“Without these activities to keep dependant economies at least surviving, the Andrews Government is effectively killing off small businesses across regional Victoria.”

Mr Quilty pointed to daily life under stage three restrictions and emphasised how any risk of viral transmission can be minimised.

“We see our supermarkets, our banks, our hardware stores all carrying out daily activities as normally as possible, albeit with additional measures,” Mr Quilty said.

“Stage three restrictions on the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services website allow people outside to shop for food and to exercise or for outdoor recreation.

“If the health experts are permitting outdoor activities, why are these same activities nor permitted in a National Park?”

With no sign of an end to COVID-19 control measures, Mr Quilty said it is vital the Andrews Government starts paying more attention to the mental health of Victorians as well as their physical health.

“It’s easy to tell when somebody is suffering a cold or some sort of physical illness, but a mental illness is easily missed or ignored,” Mr Quilty said.

“Very often those suffering are doing so in silence.

“The toll of these lockdown measures will never be known but Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos must look beyond the virus and start showing far more compassion than they have done so far.

“Allow people to enjoy some socially distanced outdoor pursuits, allow business owners to gain some sense of hope when trade increases, and allow regional Victoria to get on with life.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819