Jim’s Mowing founder Jim Penman has asked Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to “step aside” in an open letter slamming the state’s Stage Four restrictions.
Penman said Andrews’ decision to shut down the cleaning and gardening industries increased the risk of infection, and forced tens of thousands of “hard working” Australians out of work.
“By replacing well thought out departmental regulations with your personal agenda, you have sown utter confusion,” Penman said,
“No one, including many of your Members of Parliament or public servants, understands what is allowed or forbidden.”
Penman said the “total inconsistency” of the state government’s messaging meant the company’s franchisees and other sole traders consequently lacked direction, while council workers were permitted to continue their work.
“You are mismanaging the COVID crisis and sending Victoria into a spiral of deep despair,” Penman said.
“You, far more than any other Australian, are personally responsible for this COVID disaster. You botched hotel quarantine. You permitted thousands of demonstrators to fill the streets of Melbourne.”
Penman asked Andrews to allow Victorians to operate as per the initial guidelines, so long as they are alone on site.
“If you cannot allow such a simple change to breathe life into our failing economy and provide people with the ability to get back to work and put food on their tables, then step aside, and let someone else take over.”
The letter comes as the state experienced its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic, with 19 deaths recorded.
‘Devastating’ for business
It’s the second week of Victoria’s harsh lockdown, which has forced non-essential retail stores to close and residents inside, bar one hour for exercise and to gather supplies.
The effect of the lockdown would be “devastating” and “long-lasting”, according to the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industries, with around 250,000 Victorians losing their jobs just last week.
“Stage four will mean the end for many businesses, with thousands more jobs set to be lost,” VCCI chief executive Paul Guerra said.
“Business will take a further hit with employees now also having to supervise school age children at home again, and childcare centres closed for the first time.”
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