Yarra Valley should not be in Metro Lockdown

Reading a Newspaper

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Comments attributable to Bridget Vallence MP, State Member for Evelyn:

“It's been 297 days since the government has reported a COVID-19 case in the Yarra Ranges municipality, nearly 10 months.

“Yesterday, Daniel Andrews announced that Regional Victoria would no longer continue to be in Lockdown 6.0 because, and I quote,: “fundamentally the function of not having cases in regional Victoria.”

“Yet, despite there not being a single case of COVID-19 for nearly 10 months, country communities in the Yarra Valley remain stuck in lockdown. It makes no sense!

“By Daniel Andrews’ own logic, our regional communities should be released from lockdown immediately. Where is the public health advice that proves otherwise? Repeatedly, the Labor Government has failed to make public any health advice upon which they are making their decisions, and there has been an untold negative impact on our local community.

“All towns across the Evelyn Electorate have been COVID FREE for 330 days or more (as at 10 August 2021), some towns for nearly a year.

• Lilydale – Covid free for 330 days
• Chirnside Park – Covid free for 337 days
• Mooroolbark – Covid free for 330 days
• Mt Evelyn – Covid free for 352 days
• Wandin North/Seville/Seville East – Covid free 356 days
• Coldstream/Yering/Gruyere – Covid free for 350 days
• Wonga Park – Covid free for 355 days
• Silvan – Covid free for 348 days

“I've written formally to Daniel Andrews and raised this multiple times in Parliament on behalf of thousands of residents who have contacted me about this issue.

“When I finally received a response from the Premier, he told me, and I quote:

The definition of metropolitan Melbourne is based on the Planning and Environment Act 1987, which sets out the local government areas that form metropolitan Melbourne. Yarra Ranges Shire Council is one of the 31 local government areas that constitute metropolitan Melbourne.

“This proves that Daniel Andrews and Labor have kept the Yarra Valley in Melbourne’s lockdown, NOT because of public health advice, but because of bureaucratic lines drawn on a map. The outer boundaries of the Yarra Ranges Council are a 3-hour drive from the CBD!

“After Daniel Andrews today released regional Victoria - again, defined by lines on a map - on the basis they had no COVID cases, then why has this logic not been applied here in the Yarra Valley where there’s been no COVID for nearly a year!

“Thousands of local residents have contacted me concerned about this issue. For our students that have had over a year of disruption to education and social development, for our small businesses and local staff suffering financial hardship. For families that have been kept apart. Labor has failed to justify retaining the 5 km rule and other restrictions for our community.

“Indeed, the Labor Government’s own Public Health and Wellbeing Act demands that the pandemic response be proportionate to the risk. We are not seeing the Government’s dictates comply with their own law.

“I will keeping fighting and campaigning to ensure the people of the Yarra Valley no longer have to suffer under Daniel Andrews and Labor’s disproportionate lockdowns restrictions that make no sense in communities which have had no cases of COVID for almost a year.”