Response to Fourth Round of Restrictions for Mornington Peninsula
The Committee for Mornington Peninsula was disappointed that today’s announcement by the Acting Victorian Premier of a fourth round of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne once again included the Mornington Peninsula.
The CfMP acknowledges the health risk to those Melbournians who are currently infected with COVID-19 and recognises that a swift public health response is necessary to control the spread of the virus.
We also acknowledge that at this stage, there are no additional restrictions for workplaces or businesses beyond the compulsory wearing of masks.
We remain concerned however that the Mornington Peninsula is subject to the same restrictions as the city and surrounding areas due to a cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases and listed exposure sites in and north of Melbourne.
We are of the enduring view that the current division between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is not well-informed for the purposes of imposing public health directives and that the Victorian Government should take a more nuanced approach.
From our northernmost to our southernmost township, the Mornington Peninsula is 60km – 120km away from our closest listed exposure site in Melbourne. By contrast, our regionally classified neighbours in Geelong are 80km away from Melbourne and are not subject to any new restrictions.
CfMP President, Shannon Smit, said “Portsea, which is 120km away from their closest listed exposure site in Brunswick is subject to the latest round of public health restrictions as part of metropolitan Melbourne, whereas Kinglake, which is 50km away from their closest listed exposure site in Epping, is not subject to any new restrictions, as they form part of regional Victoria.”
“The CfMP is concerned that the division between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne is once again being used by as a convenient method to impose swift public health directives, rather than taking into account the distance of Mornington Peninsula communities from listed exposure sites,” Ms Smit said.
Members of the Committee for Mornington Peninsula have expressed their concern about the impacts that today’s announcement will have on local businesses, including Roger Lancia, General Manager of Pt Leo Estate.
Mr Lancia stated that since this morning’s announcement of limits in private indoor gatherings, public outdoor gatherings and compulsory mask wearing, there had been a huge influx of phone calls from clients who wanted to check their bookings were secure, and even a postponement of an event scheduled for next week.
“There is an immediate panic in the air and a real shift in consumer confidence,” Mr Lancia said.
Throughout 2020 and over the 2021 Valentine’s Day long weekend, the Mornington Peninsula was included in the metropolitan Melbourne lockdowns, despite having no active cases at the time, which effectively halted our tourism and hospitality sectors, which are crucial to our local economy.
The metropolitan Melbourne lockdowns that encompassed the Mornington Peninsula also saw a prolonged escalation of poor mental health outcomes, particularly among young people and disproportionate job losses on the Peninsula.
According to a survey conducted by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, 44 per cent of local businesses lost at least 50 per cent of their revenue in 2020, 23 per cent had lost at least half of their staff and 5,900 jobs were lost.
“Should the lockdown be extended, the CfMP’s continuing position will be for the Mornington Peninsula to be classified as regional for the purposes of public health directives, provided that there are no local outbreaks of COVID-19,” Ms Smit said.
The CfMP notes that at this stage, there are no reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 or listed exposure sites on the Mornington Peninsula.
Briony Hutton | 0468 308 696 | firstname.lastname@example.org