Victorians caught out by Andrews’ “inhumane” border lockdowns

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The Victorian Ombudsman has today exposed the shocking and callous treatment of Victorians caught on the wrong side of the Andrews Labor Government’s border lockdowns.

The Ombudsman’s Investigation into decision-making under the Victorian Border Crossing Permit Directions highlights the “downright unjust, even inhumane” treatment of standard Victorians simply trying to return home.

The Ombudsman found: 

  • Application decisions were not fully based on public health considerations.
  • Department staff were expected to review border permit applications at a rate of almost one every 30 seconds.
  • The vast majority of applications were rejected without a specific reason, with the Department citing ‘closed for other reasons’. 
  • There was no review or appeal mechanism, which meant rejected Victorians faced no alternative pathway home.
  • The decision on 20 July 2021 to prohibit Victorians in ‘red zones’ from entering Victoria and giving people 12 hours to make it across the border was found to be an impossible task, especially for many Victorians who were in northern New South Wales. 
  • The report also found that Victoria’s COVID-19 hotline gave misleading or general information that left many Victorians unsure as to whether they were able to enter Victoria. 

The Ombudsman’s report shows the Andrews Government prioritised locking Victorians out of their homes rather than getting Victorians safely back into them.

Instead of a common-sense approach that treated Victorians with respect, Labor’s bureaucratic system of 30 second decisions lead to the callous treatment of thousands of Victorian families in desperate situations.

This is just another example of ill-conceived and rushed policy by the Andrews Government, that has hurt so many Victorians by separating families and local communities for months on end.

The Liberal Nationals call on the Andrews Government to immediately apologise, release the health advice used to justify this brutal treatment of Victorians by their own government.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier: 

“Daniel Andrews’ permit system highlights everything wrong with this government – its arrogance, dismissiveness and utter failure to treat people with respect.

“The lives and livelihoods of Victorians are worth more than a 30 seconds thought from the Andrews Government.  

“Instead of a fair system that prioritised getting Victorians safely home, Daniel Andrews’ system aimed to keep people locked out no matter the circumstances.

“This system was wrong and Daniel Andrews must apologise today.”

Comments Shadow Minister for Regional Cities & Border Communities, Bill Tilley:

“None of today’s report comes as any surprise to those regional communities living on the front line of this bureaucratic mess.

“Communities, families, staff and business were torn apart for months under this callous system that treated Victorians as the enemy.

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