A former Victorian Premier has slammed Dan Andrew’s government as ‘pathetically unprofessional’ over its handling of the latest Covid-19 outbreak.
Jeff Kennett said the state had become ‘the economic sinkhole for Australia’ and claimed the latest lockdown would destroy many Victorian businesses forever.
Residents in the state were ordered into lockdown at 11.59pm last Thursday after a rapidly spreading Covid-19 outbreak in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
The snap seven-day lockdown is likely to be extended for another week, as cabinet holds crisis talks after nine new infections were recorded today.
Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett (pictured) has slammed the state government for the latest lockdown, calling Victoria ‘the economic sinkhole for Australia’
The former premier unleashed on the Victorian Labor government just as state leaders decided an extended lockdown was needed to stop the outbreak.
‘We are the only state that has had four lockdowns and we were in lockdown for most of last year,’ he told A Current Affair.
‘The trouble here is the administration of this state is so pathetically unprofessional, the things that we should have learnt before and dealt with like contact tracing has not been learned.’
Mr Kennett, who served as premier from 1992-1999, called Victoria ‘the economic sinkhole for Australia.’
‘Not only are thousands of businesses closed today but many have closed permanently, and a new range of businesses will close,’ he said.
Mr Kennett called Victoria ‘the economic sinkhole for Australia’ as thousands of businesses were shut down during the latest lockdown. Pictured: A near deserted street in the CBD
He also said Victorians were too reluctant to get immunised. Rates were low in the state, but skyrocketed after the outbreak hit.
‘The vaccination should have taken place. This is a reflection of the community as a whole. Victoria, maybe Australia, has been a very complacent about this issue of vaccination,’ he said.
Mr Kennett said the latest lockdown was not worth the economic cost.
‘We are finding street upon street upon street with shops that are now vacant and up for lease,’ he said.
‘People have walked away from that businesses. Those other people who are suffering not only financial loss and cost but also the greatest depth of stress, anxiety and worse.
‘Victorians are becoming exhausted.’
Acting Premier James Merlino has defended the lockdown as a ‘circuit breaker’ and blamed the Covid outbreak on the national vaccine rollout.
‘This nation’s vaccine rollout has been slower than we have hoped. That is a fact. The vaccine rollout is not where we hoped it would be, it’s not where it should be,’ he said on Thursday when announcing the lockdown.
‘And if more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today. But sadly we are not.’
Mr Kennett said the latest lockdown was not worth the economic cost. Pictured: A Sussan’s clothing store closing down in Melbourne