WSS Opinion: Lockdown 4.0

Well it’s a new week and lockdown 4.0 here in Melbourne. I can’t say it’s really a surprise anymore but it is what it is. Regular followers will know I’m not a fan of the Victorian Government and how they have mismanaged everything for the last year and a half (and let’s face it, a lot before that to be honest). Their handling of the hotel quarantine system, poor contract tracing (which is why we are in lockdown now. As the tracers “can’t catch up” with the amount of exposure sites. They had one guy to contact trace initially and couldn’t even manage that!), no one can book in to get a vaccine via their hotline  (even though they are telling us too in their press conferences. I’ve been trying for four days and get a message to say “try again later”) and people shouldn’t have to wait hours or be turned away from being tested. Put more staff on at the booking call centre, testing centres and vaccination hubs or make more centres available. How hard is it? 
The Federal government hasn’t been without their faults too. It’s fairly clear that hotel quarantine doesn’t work (we’ve had outbreaks in nearly every state because of it) and purpose built facilities need to be built NOW (like Howard Springs in the NT), as this isn’t going to go away anytime soon. The vaccine rollout has been a shambles and needs to be done faster and more needs be done to dispel the misinformation going around about the vaccines. Unfortunately, the myths are spreading faster than the truth. And don’t get me started on how many people are coming back and forth from overseas for “funerals” *cough weddings cough* etc How many people weren’t allowed to see dying family members interstate (or in our case, the ‘ring of steel’) or attend funerals last year due to state lockdowns but these people are allowed overseas to do so? A few have been overseas numerous times.
It’s no wonder the whole thing is a shitshow! 
Anyway, as I said, not much can be done about it now. We are quite fortunate that hubby can still go to work. I work for myself, so I haven’t been affected. Well, apart from the boys being home but Mr 19 has mainly been doing his Uni studies online anyway. The youngest is in year 11, so he is autonomous in what he needs to do with remote learning and after doing it for nearly the whole year last time, he has it worked out. 

My heart goes out to those working in casual employment, retail, hospitality, beauty industry and events, who have had work cease and cancellations thrust upon them. Losing a week’s income (maybe longer yet) is a huge hit to the finances. Small businesses were hit the hardest last year and, unlike what Martin Pakula said in a press conference last week, they can’t just “make it up next week” like he said (what an idiot! It’s very clear how out of touch politicians are with how the real world works). The State Government is screaming out for Federal assistance (after they’ve already been given $46 Billion in Covid19 relief) just shows how inept the state government is and we won’t talk about the business and stamp duty taxes added to the recent state budget, to make it even worse for those in business and people who rent housing (this will inevitably cause rents to increase and the cost of living to be even higher for those on low incomes). 

You would think the state government want businesses to inevitably shut down, go into liquidation/ receivership or move interstate/offshore. Because between the shut downs and taxes, it’s very difficult to make a go of it in Victoria. 

In the Financial Review today, it said it would take the state at least 10 years to bounce back from the last year. What that means for us as a family and for our kids future, who knows? My son’s are at the later stages of secondary learning and University, does this mean they won’t be able to get a job? Will they have to live with us until they finish their studies because of the inability to afford to live out of home?

Unemployment is, apparently, going to be higher than ever. Those of us who remember the Cain/ Kerner days will remember how challenging it was back then and especially how hard it was to get a job at that time. My husband had just finished University and had to do factory work until he could get a job in accounting. I worked at Myer and then full time receptionist for a year or so until I could get a marketing job. According to financial experts, it will be even worse than those days. Hopefully the state can bounce back but it’s very hard to foresee when you have a record state deficit (which will mean our credit rating is diminished and investment in the state will be hampered. I mean, who would invest in a state that is going bust?) and businesses closing at an all time high.

It also explains the mass exodus out of the state. Victoria has had negative growth in the last year in population (-8,500 people to December 2020*. Next ABS data reveal is in August 2021). In fact, it is the biggest loss in population since 1994* (*ABS, 4/5/2021).

As a person who would shout to anyone who would listen about how wonderful Melbourne is, I’m afraid to say that isn’t the case anymore. You just need to head into the CBD to see how much damage has been done to our one “Most Liveable City”. Half of the cities once vibrant food and retail precinct is now empty, with many boarded up windows dotted along the streets. It’s grimy and dirty. Homeless people and drug addicts seem to be common place laying on foot paths. It’s heartbreaking to see my once beloved city like this now.

Anyway, it is what it is. It’s out of our control until the next election. What do you think about it all? Leave a comment below.

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