The State of Emergency has been extended in Victoria for a further nine months with the legislation passing through the Lower House of the parliament on Wednesday night with the support of independents, including the Reason Party’s Leader, Fiona Patten.
Prior to this Member for Mildura and Reason Party Coalition Deputy Leader, Ali Cupper, had said that amendments to the extension of State of Emergency provisions would give Victoria a pathway to pandemic-specific legislation and will allow for a proportionate approach to regional areas.
“The amendments negotiated with the Victorian Government allowed for a nine-month extension to the powers which would be reviewed after three months,” Ms Cupper said.
“The Government has indicated it will introduce specific legislation within nine months to ensure there will be no more extensions to the State of Emergency.
“Having a review every three months is a safety net to ensure there is transparency in decision-making in that time, while the new legislation is being drawn up. It is important to have that scrutiny.
“This is an exit ramp out of the ongoing State of Emergency we have been in, which is the result we wanted.”
Ms Cupper said the Government had committed to concessions, to be announced within a fortnight, allowing for proportionate rules for regional Victoria.
“What we don’t want to happen again is regional and rural Victoria thrust into harsh Stage 4 lockdowns because of a cluster in metropolitan Melbourne, and the government has committed to ensuring a balanced approach to any lockdowns,” she said.
“This gives us more certainty that different rules will be applied in regional Victoria rather than a blanket, snap statewide lockdown.
“This is an important victory for regional and rural Victoria.”
Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed in State Parliament today that no concession had been agreed to – despite Ms Cupper telling local media earlier in the day “different rules will be applied in regional Victoria”.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said regional families and businesses deserved certainty.
“This bizarre ‘he-said-she-said’ only confirms one thing – regional Victorians will be no better off with an extra nine months of Daniel Andrews having the State of Emergency powers,” Mr Walsh said.
“Ali Cupper and the Reason Party have sold out regional Victorians and are now trying to pull the wool over our eyes, but the Government has confirmed this dodgy backroom deal will deliver no certainty for country businesses and families.”
Member for Northern Region and Deputy President of the Legislative Council Wendy Lovell said people shouldn’t be fooled.
“Any support for the Government’s State of Emergency legislation is a vote to extend the Andrew’s Labor Government’s State of Emergency provisions and give Daniel Andrews more control over the lives of Victorians,” Ms Lovell said.