• Loddon Herald

'Shadow lockdown" hurts

Victoria’s already delicate efforts to recover and rebuild have been dealt a savage blow as business owners across the state cry out for more support, says Murray Plains MP Peter Walsh.

Mr Walsh said despite the Andrews Labor Government trumpeting no more lockdowns once vaccine targets were met; tightening isolation requirements, coupled with density limits and further restrictions, have left our state – regionally and in the metropolitan area – in a “shadow lockdown”.

He said towns right across regional Victoria are famous for their trendy little retail strips, along with their historic precincts and café and restaurant scenes.

“But now supply chain workforce shortages are forcing more doors, right across the state, to be closed.

“The reintroduction of density limits, mask mandates and other restrictions has also meant consumers are most hesitant to shop, keeping vital dollars way from local businesses,” Mr Walsh added.

“It’s another slap in the face to business owners, most of whom have suffered through two years of the harshest restrictions in Australia and the world,” he said.

“That’s why the Victorian Liberal Nationals have called on the State Government to immediately extend the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme for a further three months.

“It is due to end this week, so an extension of the scheme would mean thousands of small businesses would avoid unaffordable rent increases just as new restrictions are enforced.

“Instead of giving business owners the confidence needed to rebuild and recover, Daniel Andrews is leaving Victorians behind.”

Mr Walsh said the only thing different between now and previous lockdowns; is Daniel Andrews has left small businesses to fend for themselves by not provided the support needed at this crucial time.

He said Daniel Andrews “must end this shadow lockdown and stop imposing 2020 style restrictions on family run cafes, retailers, restaurants and businesses and must immediately provide the support needed for their survival”.

“A Liberal Nationals government would give business owners the confidence they need to recover and rebuild,” Mr Walsh said.

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