Victoria’s constant use of lockdowns to control Covid outbreaks risks turning the state into the lockdowns has put the state at risk of becoming the ‘sinkhole’ of Australia, the state’s former premier has warned.
Jeff Kennett, the most successful Victorian Liberal leader of his generation, says the state’s many lockdowns have cost so many jobs and put so many businesses at risk that the state is now in economic peril.
One estimate said the cost of the current seven-day lockdown – the fourth in a year – could run as high as $1.3billion.
Melbourne is in the middle of a brutal seven-day lockdown that has emptied the streets and led to former Premier Jeff Kennett saying Victoria is becoming Australia’s economic ‘sinkhole’ (pictured, an eerily quiet Melbourne during the latest lockdown)
Victoria’s fourth lockdown in a year is causing plenty of economic pain for the state’s residents (pictured, testing in Melbourne on Monday)
‘Victoria very quickly is becoming the sinkhole of Australia, where our economy is shrinking,’ Kennett told Sky News.
He claimed many businesses will not survive this, the fourth lockdown in a year, adding that the state’s Covid-led decline is ‘terribly sad’
‘We are losing population to other states, and we haven’t even learnt sufficiently from previous lockdowns how to put in place the resources to handle this fourth lockdown,’ he said.
Kennett added it could take ‘years’ to recover from the economic damage being done to Victoria from continual lockdowns.
Estimates of how much the lockdown, which is due to end on Thursday but could be extended if cases spiral, will cost Victoria range between $900million and $1.3billion.
An empty Queen Victoria Market is seen on the first day of a seven-day lockdown as the state of Victoria looks to curb the spread of a Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne
Former premier Jeff Kennett said it could take ‘years’ to recover from the economic damage being done to Victoria from continual lockdowns
The Commonwealth Bank’s chief economist Gareth Aird estimated the current lockdown cost cost as much as $1.3billion, while Small Business Australia said $1billion, the ABC reported.
Exactly how businesses were being affected was explained by the boss of iconic gardening business Jim’s Mowing.
Jim Penman, owner of Jim’s Mowing, says ‘close to 1,000’ employees are unable to work despite being outdoors and as sole-operators, which he says breaks government’s own laws
Jim Penman, owner of Jim’s Mowing, told Sunrise on Tuesday morning that ‘close to 1,000’ employees are unable to work despite being outdoors and as sole-operators, which he says breaks the government’s own Covid-safe guidelines.
Some employees have become suicidal as they struggle with the lockdown, he explained, and others have seen the stress ending their marriages, something he said proves snap lockdowns need to end.
‘I had two franchisees who lost their homes and their marriages last year, and two more had suicide attempts in their families,’ he told the morning show.
‘It’s not just a financial cost, it’s a cost on children, it’s a cost on communities. It’s so unnecessary.’
The Victorian goverment announced a $250million support package for the state’s businesses, with grants available for up to 90,000 businesses.