THE Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath said it was disappointing Remembrance Day services would be impacted for veterans this year with state government restrictions capping outdoor gatherings at 10 people.
Ms Bath said with only four active cases of coronavirus state-wide, she had been hopeful sensible restrictions would be applied to allow outdoor COVID-safe Remembrance Day services to be held.
“Remembrance Day is such an important day for our local veterans, their families and many in the Gippsland community, it is frustrating that Daniel Andrews refused to recognise outdoor services with people well-spaced presented no risk.
“[A] safe outdoor service should be able to be conducted with physical spacing and density quotas observed.
“Given Gippsland has been COVID free since the end of September, the current restriction levels for public gatherings are an overreach.
“With up to 50 people now allowed at outdoor funerals and 70 in outdoor cafés and bars, similar restrictions limit should be applied to Gippsland’s Remembrance Day services so veterans and their families could pay their respects.”
Ms Bath said she would like to see a consistent approach applied to all gatherings regardless of the activity.
“Many Gippslanders are frustrated by the inexplicable variations in restrictions for gatherings and regard the inconsistencies as unjust.”
Despite the difficulties in honouring Remembrance Day, Ms Bath is encouraging Gippslanders to take the time to pay their respects today wherever they are.
“Every year at 11am on November 11, we remember the all the brave men and women who have died or suffered as they served Australia.
“This year’s Remembrance Day holds special significance, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
“It is a time when the world not only welcomed peace with great celebration, but also experienced a sombreness for the thousands who never made the journey home.
“Many Gippslanders have made immense contributions to war, humanitarian and peace keeping efforts.
“This year we witnessed the important work of the Australian Defence Force while they conducted rescue and recovery efforts during the East Gippsland bushfire emergency which impacted our region last summer.
“It is important that as a community we continue to remember the sacrifices and commitment of all our brave defence force members – ‘Lest we forget’,” Ms Bath said.