I raise a matter for the Premier.
The action I seek is that the Premier immediately take any and all actions required to reclassify the Mornington Peninsula from metropolitan to regional for the purposes of the Government’s roadmap to re-opening.
I also foreshadow that at a subsequent time I will be requesting that the Government reclassify the Peninsula from metropolitan to regional for all purposes.
I make tonights request for two reasons.Firstly, the Mornington Peninsula is not, for all practical purposes, part of metropolitan Melbourne, and it never has been. True, the Peninsula is part of the Melbourne Statisical Dicvision of the ABS, but that is simply a matter of bureaucratic convenience that in no way reflects reality.
Seventy per cent of the Peninsula land mass is outside the urban growth boundary. Private land is almost entirely zoned green wedge, or for agricultural or landscape protection purposes. Public land is largely protected in national or state parks, or coastal reserves.
This is not an area planned for urban expansion, now or ever!
Until the geographic lock downs began in July most Peninsula residents were blissfully unaware of this ‘buraucratic convenience’, and the impact it’s existence was about to have on their lives.
Now they have become aware of the issue they want it fixed, and they want it fixed now!
I have made the comparison of the Peninsula with Geelong on several occaisons recently. Since the second Covid outbreak began Geelong has had more than two and a half times the case load that the Peninsula has, but remained on Stage 3 restrictions before moving to the Roadmaps Third Step, like the rest of regional Victoria, earlier this week.If Geelong is, correctly, classified regional then so must the Peninsula be.
The second point I make, and this is where the matter becomes urgent, is the very definite risk that under the Roadmap people may be allowed to travel with the metropolitan area as it is currently defined, but not allowed to travel to other parts of the state.
If this happens, and at this stage it appears almost certain it will, the Peninsula will be the only recreational district available to the citizens of metropolitan Melbourne. We had a taste of what might happen when the lockdown bgan in July, traffic jams on Eastlink and Christmas crowds in our towns and villages as Mebournians sought to escape the city.
Until that day there had been only one case of corona virus on the Peninsula in two months. Since then we have had another 120 thanks to the Government’s decision to include us in the metro lockdown.Without immediate reconsideration we are likely to see history repeat itself.
The Peninsula has now had zero new cases for 14 days, which meets the Government’s threshold to move the ‘Last Step’ in the roadmap, but we remain stuck at the First.
I urge the premier to act immediately to correct the injustice his Government has perpetrated on the Peninsula, and to do so immediately.