Many Victorians were pinning their hopes on the release of Victoria’s roadmap on Sunday (September 19).
They were delivered a list of ifs, buts and maybes instead.
Daniel Andrews’ roadmap outlines a glacial reopening of education, businesses, community organisations and sporting groups complete with a timeline of unrealistic and unfair targets.
It’s going to be a slow and difficult grind for all Victorians. And too many questions remain unanswered.
Christmas Day visitors are dependent on vaccine targets for children aged 12 to 16, despite the Australian Medical Association (AMA) stating there is no need to vaccinate children as a prerequisite to end lockdowns.
The AMA and the Doherty Institute’s thresholds for reopening the country are based on 70 to 80 per cent vaccination rate of 16 years and over.
We’ve been living in this pandemic for 19 months; that’s almost 600 days for the Premier to identify, plan and facilitate our inevitable reopening.
In March 2020, Victorians were asked to flatten the curve, so the state’s health care system wasn’t overwhelmed. We were told the state government needed time to ramp up our health system and invest in ICU beds.
In April 2020, Daniel Andrews announced the government would spend $1.3 billion to deliver 4000 ICU beds in Victoria.
We were told to be patient. To follow the rules. That we’d be rewarded with our freedoms and a return to normal life if we all ‘did the right thing’.
Victorians obliged, at huge personal cost.
But we now know this was just Labor spin. We’re now 18 months on and our health system is still far from ready.
Last week in Victorian Parliament, the Andrews’ Labor government was forced to admit they’ve only delivered “about 400” ICU beds of the 4000 promised.
Instead of ramping up the capacity of our hospitals, Daniel Andrews has abandoned Victorians.
Victoria cannot stay locked down forever.
The Premier has failed in his basic duty to lead and prepare Victoria for reopening and his roadmap is just another roadblock.
The rollout of vaccines is the responsibility of each individual state government – the supply is there, but not the will or logistics to facilitate it.
We need a positive plan out of this.
The Andrews’ government has finally adopted The Nationals’ push for limited, LGA lockdowns to minimise the pain of the pandemic.
Other measures like rapid testing for essential workers and in crucial sectors like education and construction must be implemented; we need a better targeted vaccine program, and we deserve to see the public health advice that the Andrews’ Labor government is relying on to make decisions.
Enough deflection, enough finger-pointing, enough of the ‘it isn’t my fault’ – Labor must put more effort into getting people vaccinated and follow the National Cabinet Plan.
Melina Bath MP, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region.