The Victorian Greens have welcomed the state government’s announcement today, but say that now it’s clear many restrictions will last for quite some time, the government must do what it can to support hard hit Victorians in the coming months.
The government’s pivot from short, ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns to a longer-term plan until more people are vaccinated must also come with support for Victorians that will feel the social and financial impacts of extended restrictions the most.
That’s why the Greens are calling on the state government to:
- Place a ban on evictions and provide access to rent relief grants for renters who have lost income
- Make a plan to bring back Victorians stranded in NSW
- Ensure sufficient staff are available for ICU as ongoing transmission will put greater demands on hospital beds
The Greens will continue to support a health-led response to the pandemic, but say it’s vital that disadvantaged Victorians are supported through any restrictive health measures.
They also want to see Parliament return to sitting in a COVID-safe way as soon as possible, so that these issues can be placed squarely on the agenda.
The Greens have already suggested adopting a hybrid model similar to Federal Parliament, which would see things like speeches and Question Time conducted online, and voting conducted in-person via a ‘pairing’ system.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“We know that rolling ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns have hit renters hard, and with the expiry of renter protections earlier this year, many are facing looming debt and the threat of eviction.
“Now that the government has acknowledged we’ll be living with a number of restrictions for at least the next few months, it’s vital we reinstate those protections so no Victorian has to worry about losing their home.
“Parliament must sit safely as soon as possible so we can urgently pass protections for renters who are now facing extended restrictions and possible loss of income.”
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:
“We’ve heard from dozens of Victorians stuck in NSW without family, income, and in some cases, housing.
“Now that we are in lockdown and dealing with ongoing viral transmission, returning stranded Victorians from NSW adds little if any risk to this state.
“These Victorians and their friends and families deserve clarity and a plan as soon as possible.
“We also need to invest in more staff for ICU, because the combination of ongoing transmission and the longer hospital stays for COVID will strain our hospitals.”