As part of its reopening plan, the Victorian Government will release a dedicated regional roadmap on Sunday, September 6.

According to the Premier Daniel Andrews, this will provide greater certainty to communities, tourism operators and businesses alike that restrictions will be eased at a safe pace – based on localised health advice.

“Regional Victoria and Melbourne are experiencing this virus in different ways. That’s why we need a dedicated regional roadmap to plan for, and to protect, regional Victoria,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday this week.

“We want to open up the whole of our state in a steady and safe way. Because no matter your postcode, we’re in this together.”

He said regional Victoria had done a fantastic job in following the rules and slowing the spread of coronavirus and “as Victoria slowly opens up, the Government will do everything we can to protect that”.

In a public statement this week, ahead of easing restrictions, he said Regional Victorians have responded to the call to get tested with over 100,000 tests since Stage 3 restrictions began.

“Supporting this effort, the Government has also established six new COVID Regional Response Units (CRU) to rapidly respond to any potential outbreak, informed by local knowledge of how and where the virus is likely to spread in local communities.

“The CRUs are led by infectious disease and public health experts and work with DHHS Public Health staff to provide contact tracing, monitoring and support for people who test positive in the regions of Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Ballarat Health, Goulburn Valley Health, Albury Wodonga Health and Latrobe Regional Hospital.”

Two-speed state

Recognising there is no one size fits all solution, the Government will offer tailored guidance not only to different industries but to different parts of our state, with dedicated roadmaps for both Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Discussions are underway with a range of industry, unions and community organisations to inform the final work on Victoria’s roadmap to ‘COVID Normal’, including a separate roadmap to protect and support regional Victoria.

“Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes will lead consultation with regional partnership committees, employers and unions to ensure we keep regional communities safe and help local businesses rebuild.

“The Government will also consult with community support organisations on the impacts of social isolation on Victorians. Consultation will continue this week with advice to be provided to Victoria’s public health team who will consider feedback as work on the roadmap continues.”