Australia’s corporate bosses are pressuring Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to immediately remove Melbourne’s ‘wartime’ night curfews, saying they ‘don’t make sense’.
The chief executive of health firm CSL Paul Perreault called for the curfews to be immediately lifted and urged Mr Andrews to rethink his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown.
‘I don’t see (curfew) happening anywhere else in the world. No one is using curfews … I don’t see the rationale for it frankly,’ Mr Perreault told The Australian.
‘From what I have seen of [Mr Andrews’ roadmap] and read of it, it seems to be inconsistent and using data that doesn’t make a lot of logical sense.’
BHP Chairman Ken MacKenzie (left) and CSL Chief Executive Paul Perreault (right) have called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to end the curfew and review the strict lockdown
Pressure is rising as hundreds took to Melbourne’s streets for a second day in a row to protest. Pictured: a protester is detained at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market on Sunday
CSL is a beneficiary of the Federal Government’s $1.7 billion vaccine deal, and is set to produce 84.8 million doses if and when one is approved.
The Morrison Government turned on Victoria’s Labor premier in late August over the strict lockdowns and has since repeatedly accused Mr Andrews of ‘unacceptable’ failures.
The CSL chief said he was not interested in scoring political points, however, and offered his company’s scientific resources including data scientists to help Mr Andrews change course.
Joining CSL was BHP chairman Ken MacKenzie who said the shutdown was damaging livelihoods and the economy beyond repair.
‘I support the view that businesses with clear and effective workplace protocols should be allowed to return to work in a staged, sensible manner,’ he said.
Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott (left) has joined the corporate voices slamming Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (right) for the strict curfew and lockdowns
Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions will ease signficantly in Step Two which is expected on September 28 so long as the 14-day new case average (pictured) falls below 50 per day
Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott also added his voice to the calls for a review of the modelling.
‘The impact on isolation, loneliness, depression is reaching a crisis point … curfews undermine confidence for no discernible health benefit. It shouldn’t be the case of the “computer says no”,’ he said.
Five million Melbournians have been banned from leaving their homes from 8pm to 5am since August 2 under strict Stage Four lockdowns.
Premier Andrews personally made the call to introduce Melbourne’s curfew and has remained unrepentant despite mounting pressure.
Health experts including the Grattan Institute’s Stephen Duckett have said there is ‘very, very limited’ epidemiological evidence to support a curfew.
Mr Andrews defended his ‘captain’s call’ by saying it wasn’t about the virus directly but about making it easier for police to enforce the lockdown rules.
‘These are hard rules to enforce,’ he told reporters at his daily media briefing on Tuesday.
‘We reckon there’s a bunch of people that are out when they shouldn’t be out, and a curfew … is much easier for Victoria police.’
However, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said on Thursday that the curfew was introduced with no input from Victoria Police.
‘The reality is, I was never consulted,’ Mr Patton told 3AW.
Mr Andrews was also forced to retract his previous claim that he had taken advice about the curfew from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, after he revealed he hadn’t recommend the curfew either.
Tensions have been rising in Victoria under the strict lockdowns imposed when daily new infections spiked to more than 700 a day as the outbreak spread out of control in late July and early August.
Hoping for a reprieve when Premier Andrews announced the long-awaited road map out of the crisis, Victorians were disappointed at facing a long, difficult and complicated four-step process.
The conservative road map is designed to avoid a devastating third wave, which would mean restrictions would have to be reimposed.
It has sparked anger from businesses large and small who fear the economic impact of the virus will damage them for years.
Hundreds gathered in Melbourne’s CBD to protest against lockdowns and several people were detained by police on Sunday
‘Protesters started grabbing fruit and throwing it at police,’ photographer Erik Anderson said from the scene at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market on Sunday
Former Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel told The Australian that the lockdown had forced many small businesses to close and they would not be re-opening – ever.
Riled by tough restrictions and encouraged by political disunity, hundreds of demonstrators have taken to Melbourne’s streets to protest.
On Sunday the anti-lockdown protesters massed in Melbourne for a second day in a row at Queen Victoria Market in the CBD.
Protesters chanting ‘Freedom’ and ‘Power to the people’ were outnumbered by police and footage of violent scuffles has been posted online.
‘There were a few tense moments when protesters started grabbing fruit and throwing it at police,’ photographer Erik Anderson said from the scene.
Police horses wore protective face shields but protesters were seen kicking at them in Melbourne on Sunday
Protesters clashed with police on Sunday and several people have been arrested
Mr Anderson estimated that police had arrested dozens of protesters.
The Andrews Government reduced Melbourne’s ‘wartime’ curfew by an hour late on Sunday night as Step One relaxations were introduced.
Huge crowds of protesters were filmed marching down empty streets in Melbourne, calling for Daniel Andrews to ease the city’s draconian lockdown restrictions.
The controversial curfew now starts at 9pm instead of 8pm and runs until 5am.
Melbourne is set to stay under strict Stage Four lockdown until the first significant easing to Step Two which will allow more than 100,000 workers to go back to work in construction, manufacturing, and maintenance.
Step Two is expected on September 28, so long as the 14-day rolling average of new cases falls below 50 per day, for 14 days.
The rolling average has been falling dramatically reaching 56.9 on Sunday from 120.8 two weeks previously, according to statistics website Covid19data.com.au.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step came into effect at 11.59pm on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13: now in effect
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records