Confirmation that the Andrews Labor Government has provided approval for week-long protests in the Melbourne CBD is a clear failure of community safety and a backwards step for Victoria’s economic recovery.
The Department of Health has approved a COVID safe application by Extinction Rebellion for up to 5,000 people to protest across this week, despite the history of this group unlawfully disrupting commuters, visitors and businesses and bringing the CBD to a standstill.
Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has confirmed over 2,000 frontline officers will be diverted away from regular duties as a result of these protests and described these events as a “huge opportunity cost for community safety”.
This protest follows crossbench concessions by the Andrews Labor Government earlier this year to enshrine a “right to protest” within legislation to extend Victoria’s State of Emergency until December 2021.
With hundreds of police still tied-up in Labor’s suspended hotel quarantine program and fewer than one in four train stations patrolled by PSOs, the Andrews Labor Government must act to get frontline officers back in the community.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police and Crime Prevention, David Southwick:
“Daniel Andrews’ deal with the Greens to extend State of Emergency powers has given the green-light to these disruptive and dangerous protestors which try to shut down the city at all costs.
“With thousands more police pulled off the frontline due to another Labor COVID fail, it’s clear Daniel Andrews has dropped the ball on community safety.
“Everyone has the right to a peaceful protest but nobody has the right to disrupt and endanger Melbournians and lockdown a city that is already on life support.”