Victorian Premier Dan Andrews is facing a class action suit from businesses affected by the Stage Four coronavirus lockdown – and it could total billions of dollars.
The plaintiffs are claiming failures in the hotel quarantine system led to the draconian restrictions which have brought businesses to a standstill.
The staggering legal suit also names Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and is being led by US and Sydney-based law firm Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, which successfully sued the Queensland government after the 2011 floods.
Melbourne restaurant owner, Anthony Ferrara, is the lead plaintiff on the case and told the Australian Financial Review businesses don’t need charity or kind thoughts from politicians – they need certainty.
Melbourne restaurant owner, Anthony Ferrara (pictured), is the lead plaintiff on class action and said businesses don’t need charity or kind thoughts from politicians – they need certainty
Thousands of businesses impacted by stage four measures expected to join the class action against Premier Dan Andrews (pictured), Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Jobs Minister Martin Pakula
On August 2, Melbourne was placed under Stage 4 lockdown restrictions after the state recorded 671 coronavirus cases and seven deaths.
Hospitality venues were forced to return to takeaway only and a curfew stopped residents leaving the house after 8pm.
The state’s current COVID-19 outbreak is potentially linked to Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine system – which is currently being reviewed by an independent inquiry.
Lawyer, Damian Scattani, said thousands of businesses impacted by the tough lockdown measures are expected to join the class action.
‘It’s quite plain what happened with hotel quarantine, which enabled the virus to escape, and cause these restrictions and losses for businesses,’ he said.
‘These businesses need help now, they have been snake bitten by this quarantine breach and some will not be around much longer.’
Mr Ferrara, owner of New York-themed restaurant, 5 Districts NY in Keilor Park, said he usually makes tens of thousands of dollars each week but the restrictions allowing takeaway sales only has dropped his income to less than ten thousand each week.
‘Our situation is not our doing, we are calling to account those who put us in this dire situation,’ he said.
Prominent Melbourne businesswoman, Tracey Lester, has also joined the suit. She owns The Carlton Club, Windsor Castle and Gertrude Hotel.
Prominent Melbourne businesswoman, Tracey Lester (pictured), has also joined the class action suit, she owns The Carlton Club, Windsor Castle and Gertrude Hotel
Mr Scattani, who is leading the case, has experience launching legal action against state governments.
He won the class action suit for 4,000 Queensland residents and businesses who were affected by the 2011 floods.
The suit found water companies failed to operate the Wivenhoe and Somerset dams properly in the lead-up to and during the flood. The compensation bill is estimated to be between $400million and $1billion.
Premier Dan Andrews is expected to announce he has secured support for a six-month extension of lockdown powers. Pictured: An empty Royal Arcade mall in Melbourne
Victoria’s class action was confirmed on Monday as Premier Dan Andrews is expected to announce he has secured support for a six-month extension of lockdown powers.
The Australian Financial Review is reporting crossbenchers are laying low after receiving death threats over the controversial measures.
State opposition leaders have called on the government to provide businesses with certainty.
On Tuesday Victorian Liberal Senator Saran Henderson called on those who are struggling to use state law to seek financial redress if they have lost work from the stage 4 lockdown.
Health secretary Kym Peake can award compensation if she considers there were insufficient grounds for Dr Sutton’s authorisation.
Pictured: Melbourne’s usually bustling Lygon Street, the state opposition has urged business owners impacted by stage four lockdown to seek financial redress
Victoria’s current stage four outbreak has been potentially linked to bungled hotel quarantine which is under an independent inquiry