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Rural outbreak in Victoria a ‘galling’ reminder of the Premier’s incompetence
Sweeping claims made by the Victorian Premier suggesting the coronavirus is “under control” does not reflect the lived experience of some small rural communities according to Victorian Liberal MP Richard Riordan. While most of regional Victoria has remained coronavirus free despite record-breaking numbers of new cases in Melbourne, the small town of Colac in the state’s south-west recently reported 27 new cases, a quarter of all cases in regional Victoria. Of these cases, 13 have been linked to an abottoir outbreak at the Australian Lamb Company. Describing the situation in Colac, Mr Riordan said within the last five days, the town had moved from zero cases to become the largest rural outbreak in the state and the people impacted were yet to be contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria (DHHS). He said the lack of DHHS action was particularly galling in light of Premier Andrews’ press conference on Wednesday where he stood up and said, “we’ve got all the resources, we’ve got all the equipment we need, we can do 1,000 people a day”. “There are 100 year 12 students in my town who have not yet been contacted or followed up by this government,” he told Sky News host Rita Panahi. “If this is the way they are going to treat rural and regional Victoria, then we all have a very big problem ahead”.
Another three coronavirus cases linked to Australian Lamb Colac cluster
Concerns are being raised a coronavirus cluster at a south-west Victorian abattoir could lead to a significant outbreak in regional Victoria. Key points: Twelve cases of coronavirus have been linked to Australian Lamb Company's Colac abattoir The Victorian Government says it's working with the company to conduct contact tracing A local MP is fearful the cluster could get out of hand Australian Lamb Colac has closed for at least fourteen days after nine workers tested positive to COVID-19. Last Friday, a contractor employed at the processing facility was in self-isolation following a positive result, and several schools in Colac have also closed over coronavirus concerns. The company says all workers employed at the site have been instructed to quarantine and the abattoir continues to work with health authorities. Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Agriculture Victoria had been working closely with Australian Lamb Colac. The ABC understands Agriculture Victoria chaired a meeting with the company over the weekend. "They have certainly responded very well as an employer and been very concerned about their staff," Ms Symes said. "[Australian Lamb Colac] has made sure all of their staff have been tested, cleaning the facility, and WorkSafe are also on site supporting them. Fears of significant cluster Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan said he was concerned the outbreak could turn into a significant cluster in country Victoria. "The Department of Health and Human Services has been very, very slow to work with key employers and other organisations affected by this current diagnosis," Mr Riordan said. "So we're now looking at this town, these organisations, having to work together themselves to solve this problem." Richard Riordan is urging Colac residents to act as though they are bound by the stage 3 coronavirus restrictions. Australian Lamb Colac is one of two Victorian abattoirs battling coronavirus, with an outbreak at a JBS abattoir in Brooklyn, west of Melbourne, linked to 35 infections. Trinity College Colac has shut its doors until Thursday after one its students, whose parent works a Australian Lamb Colac, tested positive to COVID-19, to allow further testing and tracing to be completed. Ms Symes said her state opposition counterpart's criticism of the Labor Government was off-the-mark. "That's completely false, and it's quite insulting to industry that have been working very hard for months with Government," she said. "The Australian Meat Industry Council have been providing detailed advice and support to meat processing facilities with targeted guidelines for managing coronavirus risk during the pandemic." Mr Riordan said the community was being forced to handle the bulk of the contact tracing itself. "The community has no information as to when the person first contracted it, how it came to town, whether it was workplace related or other, and these are serious questions that need immediate answers to help put a pin on it," he said. "It's a recipe for disaster when the Government, three days into knowing about this, has really effectively provided no support or resources. "The school's been put on notice with the staff and students. There's an estimate in excess of 100 immediate close contacts to the student there. "My call-out to the local Colac community is for everybody to adhere to stage 3 restrictions in terms of really taking care of yourselves, not to go out unless you absolutely have to and to, where possible, if you can't keep a safe distance wear masks locally." Win for the bush telegraph The response from the Colac community to the outbreak has been heralded as a win for the country 'bush telegraph'. Mr Riordan said a number of the town's biggest employers had been meeting regularly to devise a strategy on how to best handle a positive case in the town. "I guess it's reminiscent of the fact that during times of crisis, whether it's bushfire or flood, country communities have the ability to work very well together," Mr Riordan said. "What we need is State Government to support that networking and let country people use practical, sensible solutions to get on and keep the community safe."
No state has 'stuffed up' the COVID-19 response like Victorian Labor
Sky News host Peta Credlin says the “monumental incompetence” of Victoria’s state Labor government risks sending the entire country backwards. “No one had tougher restrictions in the first place than Victoria,” Ms Credlin said. “Yet no one has stuffed it up as badly either”. On Monday it was announced the state border between New South Wales and Victoria is to shut in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly virus between states. Overnight Victoria recorded an extra 127 cases of coronavirus and a man in his 90s and a man in his 60s died in hospital after testing positive to COVID-19. While over the weekend Premier Daniel Andrews placed 3,000 residents in a five-day mandatory lockdown as fears mount over a potential explosive outbreak of the coronavirus in densely populated high-rise buildings in Flemington and North Melbourne. Ms Credlin said Daniel Andrews produces “spin over substance”. “The fact that Mums and Dads copped fines for fishing, and golf was banned, yet 30,000 activists could march says everything about the Victorian government's lack of focus”. “And the priorities of the police chieftains too”.
Richard Riordan MP Member For Polwarth Discusses Cancel Culture on The Young IPA Podcast
Nearly half a million Australians between the ages of 15 and 25 are not in full-time education and are not working – this is why we call for the easing of restrictions. We talk about the update from the ABS and also the latest victims of cancel culture – Colonial Brewing Co, Josh Thomas, The Guardian and the song Swing Low Sweet Chariot. (0:00-18:21) Likes and Dislikes this week include the West Australian government’s new law stopping people going to jail for not paying a fine, Bob Katter dressing up like the Grim Reaper, Teen Vogue and Rick Wilson. (18:21-27:19) Shadow Assistant Minister in Victoria Richard Riordan joins us on the show to talk about the Save Our Pubs campaign in Victoria, what he thinks of Daniel Andrews’ restrictions and breaks news to us about misspending from State Parliament on Victorian Roads. (27:19-47:32) The Schlichts do battle again in the quiz this week as Pete seeks to go back-to-back (47:32-1:04:15), and at the end of the show we cover Dan Andrews throwing SA under the bus to distract from the scandals in Vic Labor, the Dems cringey photoshoot getting Well Actually’d, the Austrian man fined for farting and QANTAS, Virgin and other airlines no longer serving booze due to coronavirus. (1:04:15-1:12:45) The Young IPA Podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts and on YouTube. Click here for Apple Podcasts.