A proposal by Rural Councils Victoria to loosen regional Victoria's coronavirus restrictions has been backed by a local MP.
Upper House Member for Western Victoria, Bev McArthur, said RCV was completely justified in its request for an earlier lifting and easing of restrictions.
"Treating the city and country as the same is pure insanity," she said.
The proposal would enable regional Victoria to go to the final step in the Covid-plan, enabling:
- Outdoor public gatherings of up to 50 people,
- Up to 20 visitors in the home,
- Indoor hospitality functions for up to 50 people,
- Reopening of gyms and municipal libraries,
- Churches to return to indoor and outdoor services,
- No restrictions on exercise, and
- All retail to open.
"I fully congratulate the bravery and strength of Rural Councils Victoria for standing up to the Andrews' (State) Government which has shown no propensity to listen to country people," Mrs McArthur said.
"We know the Premier (Daniel Andrews) doesn't like being stood up to, or questioned, but this is an issue he cannot ignore. Quite simply, there are lives at stake, and too many have already been lost.
"Labor's regional MPs are silent on this and they should be ashamed. Their job is to represent the people, not ignore them. Country people will remember who stood up when needed," she said.
Rural Councils Victoria represent 37 local councils.
In Victoria, 38 of the state's 79 councils are classified as rural and together cover 79 per cent of Victoria's land area and a population of 745,000.
There are zero cases of unknown coronavirus in rural Victoria. The rolling 14-day-average is 0.3
"There are parts of rural and regional Victoria that have never had a case of coronavirus - yet they have been subjected to the same bizarre standards applied to Melbourne," Mrs McArthur said.
"RCV is right to request that regional and rural Victoria be considered separately to Melbourne and to demand that step 3 restrictions be eased.
"It is also right to argue for rural-based workers to be allowed to return to work under Covid-safe conditions. To do otherwise is Illogical and simply criminal. There is much at stake: the lives and livelihoods of thousands; the economic future of communities; and the wellbeing of rural Victoria.
"When there is no coronavirus in rural Victoria - and with 99 per cent of all coronavirus cases registered as mild anyway - the need to treat people outside the tram tracks of Melbourne with due respect is well, well overdue."