PM ’considering plan’ overnight

 

The Prime Minister spent Sunday evening eyeing up the details of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' new roadmap out of stage four coronavirus restrictions and is expected to respond in full today.

Scott Morrison did release a joint media statement with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday afternoon, which appeared to implicitly criticise Mr Andrews.

However, the Commonwealth's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Michael Kidd, said Mr Morrison would be addressing Australians directly and "responding in more detail" today.

Prof Kidd confirmed the Prime Minister had "seen the Victorian plan and the Commonwealth has received details of the modelling behind the plan" and would consider it in full overnight.

"The Commonwealth Government will now consider the Victorian modelling and settings that are being provided to our experts and officials, including our chief medical officer, and await their advice before responding further," the Prime Minister said on Sunday afternoon.

"Now that we have been advised of the plan and it has been released we will also seek feedback from Victorian business and industry stakeholders to understand their concerns and seek to ensure they are addressed."

On Sunday Mr Andrews revealed that Melbourne's strict COVID-19 stage four lockdown, which was due to end in mid-September, would now be extended for an extra fortnight - but with some modifications.

The lockdown will now remain until at least September 28, followed by a number of different stages with fresh rules.

From next Sunday some, of those modifications include the curfew in Melbourne starting an hour later and running from 9pm-5am, people being able to exercise outdoors for up to two hours a day, children's playgrounds reopening, and the expansion of social bubbles for those living on their own.

Mr Andrews confirmed on Sunday night that he had briefed the Prime Minister before he made the announcements but he did not indicate the PM's response.

Mr Morrison has been critical of the state's contact tracing and has said it is of "critical importance" the level of tracing is strengthened.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: David Gray
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: David Gray

His media statement gave Australians a taste of what to expect when he fronts the cameras today. It described the Victorian government's lockdown extension as "hard and crushing."

The PM's joint statement on Sunday stressed the importance of "reopening our economy and reasonably restore the liberties of all Australians".

"Today's announcement from the Victorian Government to extend lockdown arrangements will be hard and crushing news for the people of Victoria, and a further reminder of the impact and costs that result from not being able to contain outbreaks of COVID-19, resulting in high rates of community transmission," the statement said.

It predicted more job losses as a result of the extended lockdown.

And Mr Morrison said the federal government "would like to see restrictions in Victoria lifted as soon as it is safe to do so", the decision was entirely up to the state government.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has come out swinging against the proposed plan for regional Victoria's exit out of Stage 3 lockdown.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Mr McCormack said the decision to keep borders in regional areas closed "just does not make sense".

Mr Andrews appeared on the Sunday Project and fobbed off a question about the PM's press release, posed by one of the show's hosts, Peter van Onselen.

"You'd need to speak to the Prime Minister about the words he chooses in media releases," Mr Andrews said.

"I spoke to him this morning before I made these announcements. Our partnership is a very important one, there's no time for politics in this."

Van Onselen pressed again, asking the Premier: "What do you think of the words he (Scott Morrison) has used?"

"Prime ministers and premiers need to be focused on the job at hand and that's not trying to interpret media releases," Mr Andrews said.

"That's working together as closely as we can to get this job done, and that's exactly what we're doing."

Professor Kidd sent a plea to Victorians and the rest of the country to stay strong on Sunday, admitting many residents "will be feeling anxious and isolated … angry and frustrated, and negative".

"Some people will be feeling depressed and despondent," he said,

"The response in Victoria is a response that is not just protecting the health of the people of Melbourne and Victoria but is also protecting the health of all people in Australia," he said.

"Victorians have overwhelmingly risen to the challenge so far and will continue to do so.

"Please reach out to your loved ones and your friends in Melbourne to offer your support."

There are some changes to the two-week extension of stage four, which will last from Sunday, September 13 to September 28, followed by a number of different stages with fresh rules.

You can find more information on those rules here.

Originally published as PM 'considering plan' overnight

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. Picture: Mick Tsikas
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. Picture: Mick Tsikas

HIGHLIGHTS: Hornets pile on 40 points in U17 trial match

Premium Content HIGHLIGHTS: Hornets pile on 40 points in U17 trial match

The Cherbourg Hornets hosted the Sunshine Coast Bunyas at Jack O’Chin Oval on...

Citrus industry under threat by Paradise Dam decision

Premium Content Citrus industry under threat by Paradise Dam decision

The Burnett region’s booming citrus industry, worth $183 million, warns a...

VIDEO: Farms turned white as storms wreak havoc in Eidsvold

Premium Content VIDEO: Farms turned white as storms wreak havoc in Eidsvold

The skies finally opened up delivering decent rainfall and even severe hailstorms...