Showdown over Victoria’s tough restrictions


A showdown is looming between Daniel Andrews and Melbourne's Lord Mayor Sally Cap over the damaging impact stage 4 lockdown is having on Melbourne businesses.

It comes as the Victorian Premier agreed on Thursday to a crisis meeting with Cr Capp, with the Lord Mayor telling the Today show recent data showed Melbourne was disproportionately impacted" through the pandemic.

"This has local, state and national implications. Importantly, our businesses are devastated and they desperately need to know that their lives and their livelihoods are valued by Victoria, by the Premier, and we want to fast-track a road map so that they have got a way to plan for the future," she said.

"It's so difficult when your customers can't come to support your businesses. In the meantime, without any revenues, there are still so many expenses to cover.

"Of course, in this environment there is no sense of when that will start to change, when will we start to live and work again within the context of coronavirus? When can we get the city reopened so that we can welcome people back and businesses can really get that kickstart."

Cr Capp said there were plans for reopening schools, "just as there are plans for getting other parts of our community going again", and urged the Premier to give businesses that glimmer of hope.

"We do need to have some signals to business so that they can start planning," she said.

"Of course, they may change, depending on what happens, but without some of these signals to give some hope and some confidence it's really difficult for businesses, their owners, their workers to keep going.

"Together we need to be working on a road map to make sure that lord mayors and mayors, the Premier, the Prime Minister are all involved and focused on how we can help our businesses recover from this crisis.

"If the Melbourne economy is not flourishing it has local, state and national implications."

Pressure is on Premier Daniel Andrews to give businesses a signal they can start to open up after lockdown. Picture: Wayne Taylor/NCA NewsWire
Pressure is on Premier Daniel Andrews to give businesses a signal they can start to open up after lockdown. Picture: Wayne Taylor/NCA NewsWire

When pushed for clarity on Thursday about a road map for businesses emerging from stage 4 lockdown, the Premier said "the first thing is to deal with the health issue".

"I think we've seen a lot of commentary over the recent months. Not just here but across the world that if you don't deal with the health challenge first, then that big job of trying to recover, trying to repair that damage, just becomes much, much harder," Mr Andrews said.

"I want to assure workers, businesses, families, communities, that there will be a series of very significant announcements that are about jobs, both saving jobs and creating new jobs, and making sure that we support all of those who have been harmed and damaged by this global pandemic."

Originally published as Showdown over Victoria's tough restrictions