Lockdown putting country jobs at risk: Walsh


STATE Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh is pushing for people in regional communities to return to work so no more jobs are lost amid the COVID-19 fallout.

A recent analysis by the Grattan Institute has revealed the Farrar and Nicholls electorates are estimated to have lost more than eight per cent and seven per cent of jobs respectively since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In state parliament on Wednesday, June 3, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews refused to consider excluding country people from the work-from-home order, despite just three active COVID-19 cases recorded in regional Victoria, one of which is in Campaspe Shire.

“Daniel Andrews’s blanket ban on all Victorians going back to the workplace unfairly disadvantages regional communities,” Mr Walsh said.

“Forcing country people to work from home because the Andrews Labor Government doesn’t have a plan to manage social distancing on public transport and in high-rise office lifts in Melbourne doesn’t make sense.

“Most country Victorians drive themselves to work and are not exposed to the risk of Melbourne’s overcrowded public transport system.

“Drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus pandemic have left many country people out of work and smashed regional economies.”

Mr Walsh said allowing country people to get back to the workplace with appropriate physical distancing in place was a sensible move that would secure jobs and businesses in regional Victoria.

“Victorians all did the right thing with working from home and staying home to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and flattening the infection curve, as it was called, but it also flattened the jobs of many people and that is reflected in the latest employment data,” he said.

“That is why it is so important to end the work-from-home rule in regional Victoria so people can get back to work and save jobs.”

The Victorian Government’s current advice is: If you can work from home, you must continue to do so.

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