Member for Mildura, Ali Cupper

THIS week has been one of disappointment for Member for Mildura, Ali Cupper, with the State Government passing the legislation allowing for a six-month extension to the State of Emergency in Victoria.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Ms Cupper was unable to take her seat in Parliament to vote on the legislation, something she would have been inclined to oppose.

“The Government was asking for a 12-month extension of the State of Emergency which I felt was too long,” Ms Cupper said.

“I personally thought that three months would be better. Six months still seems like a long time.

“I’m still trying to process all of the feedback we are receiving in our office from a community that is extremely fatigued and extremely doubtful of the Government’s capacity.

“We have already forgone the various postponements and cancellations of parliament as a result of COVID, and we’ve gone too long without some of those key democratic checks and balances and we needed more democracy not less, given all the state has been through, including our community.”

On a brighter note, Ms Cupper said like all people in regional Victoria, she was hopeful that a different road map back to recovery will be outlined by the Premier on Sunday.

“We have argued for a tailored approach to restrictions and lockdowns from the very beginning, and early on we had some success with that, with Stage 2 restrictions remaining in place when Melbourne returned to Stage 3 in July,” she said.

“We have lobbied strongly from the beginning for a separate approach region by region. While COVID started creeping into regional Victoria, is didn’t extend to our part of the state, but we ended up having Stage 3 restrictions imposed and the border closures in South Australia and NSW – all the while having no active cases since early April.

“Technically we had one case registered to Mildura, which anecdotally was understood to have been someone who wasn’t physically in Mildura when they became infected. We have been through the wringer, and I’m hoping for some good news on Sunday.”

Ms Cupper said that while she wasn’t able to take her seat in Parliament yesterday when the Legislative Assembly sat, she was on the ‘call’ list. “I couldn’t be there, however I am going to be on the call list to make a speech on the emergency powers issue remotely, but nothing is guaranteed. My view on the legistation will however be recorded in Hansard.”