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Russel Northe MLA:
Northe Highlights COVID Concerns

Concerns raised relating to the State Governments COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2020.

By Portal Admin - 22nd September 2020 - Back to News

Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has today in Parliament raised a number of concerns relating to the State Governments COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2020.

The Bill seeks to extend certain temporary changes, as well as introduce new provisions over the next six months, for the purposes of the Governments response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the Attorney Generals second reading speech, these emergency measures form a vital part of their COVID-19 activities in a broad range of portfolios.

Mr Northe said he was disappointed that such important and wide ranging legislation was only able to be considered for minimal amount of days, and introduced into the Parliament without adequate scrutiny or oversight.

Whilst acknowledging the challenges the Government face in setting policy in these unprecedented times, Mr Northe highlighted several key cohorts of the community that are struggling at this time, especially with delays in accessing critical Government programs.

"Under this Bill there is potential for courts and tribunals to have their proceedings delayed for months on end, and I worry about the backlog already in place which is emotionally and financially impacting many persons", Mr Northe said.

"There are not only delays on serious matters before the Courts but I am also aware of situations whereby landlords who are in dispute with tenants are unable to have a case heard in VCAT in a timely manner. Im advised there is an enormous VCAT and DSCV hearing backlog, which is of great concern", Mr Northe continued.

"I am pleased the Government has put measures in place to assist vulnerable tenants but landlords cant be left out in the cold either".

Within the debate, Mr Northe was also able to raise wider matters that were impacting local residents and businesses including driver licence testing delays, farm rate increases, business support inconsistencies and anomalies in a range of activities under Third Step measures.

"In summary, I had determined to oppose the Bill given the lack of time to consider the legislation; the lack of time to consult and receive feedback; and the lack of oversight or accountability on the Bill which has wide-ranging impacts across the community", Mr Northe concluded.

Mr Northes speech is attached for your reference:

Russell Northe - COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2020


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