Making News
Hunt backs tourism board’s demands for regional status

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Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has again thrown his support behind calls for the Mornington Peninsula to be designated regional as a peak tourism body pleaded for the Peninsula to be removed from metropolitan Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions.

“The Mornington Peninsula must urgently be reclassified as regional alongside our regional neighbours,” the Flinders federal Liberal MP said, “and Melbourne must move to a COVID-safe opening in line with NSW and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer’s standard.

“The mental health, social and economic consequences of current restrictions is having a crippling effect on the Mornington Peninsula and all of metropolitan Melbourne. The three-day rolling average for Victoria is now approximately three cases per day. The Mornington Peninsula is performing even better with zero active cases since October 10 and zero new cases since September 25. This is well below the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer’s definition of a COVID-19 hot spot of below 10 cases per day.”

Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board chairwoman Tracey Cooper told Breaking News the Peninsula should be immediately included within regional Victoria.

“We are still waiting on clarity around tours and indoor attractions – they seem to be way down the reopening list,” Ms Cooper said. “We need real support for recovery over the coming years. This includes support for marketing and business development of our tourism businesses.”

Ms Cooper said the lockdown had placed tourism operators under huge stress. “I remain concerned about the ability of our operators to reopen and meet the looming bills that have been deferred.”

Premier Daniel Andrews last Sunday announced moves to ease some of social and recreational COVID restrictions. More restrictions are slated to be eased on November 2, but Mr Andrews has hinted these could be moved forward. The State Government has strongly argued that restrictions are based on public health advice and will be eased as requirements are met.

Last Sunday’s announcement was met with anger from retail, hospitality and tourism representatives, who said the Government didn’t go far enough.

A petition calling for the Peninsula to be removed from the metropolitan Melbourne lockdown restrictions has garnered more than 4000 signatures.

According to Department of Health and Human Services data, Frankston City has had no new active COVID-19 cases and one current active case in the past 24 hours while Mornington Peninsula Shire has no active cases.

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