An adamant Daniel Andrews is rejecting the concerns of Victorian businesses – and the Morrison government – that too many of the state’s restrictions are neither COVID-safe nor business-safe.

Thats meant Penman has also had to change his original advice to various franchisees under the Jims Group banner that it was legal to continue their operations under the new lockdown rules.
I would not want any of them to be in conflict with the police, he says. The police are doing a wonderful job and we all need to work together to defeat this virus.
But the rules must be clear. The ones affecting sole operators are just confusing and dont do anything to reduce the risk of infection.
Its much riskier to allow people to run through the streets or go into a bottle shop than it is to allow sole operators to work especially if people are told to not approach any customer nearer than five metres and only accept electronic payments.
According to the Premier, any economic benefit derived from carveouts over the next six weeks would be overwhelmed by the economic costs of extending the lockdown for six months.
Penmans anger is typical of the frustration among Victorian businesses struggling to understand whether they can still open even on the Premiers pilot light basis due to a complicated and often contradictory maze of restrictions.
But Andrews is totally unpersuaded by Penmans arguments, let alone Penman’s call on him to resign if he wont make a simple change to breathe life into our failing economy.
He has no choice but to make tough decisions, the Premier insists, despite the pain being felt by businesses and their employees. He obviously intends to keep mowing his own lawn.
If every person who came to me and argued passionately and eloquently that they are low risk we would finish up with more people at work in August than we had last month, he said at a daily press conference.
According to the Premier, any economic benefit derived from carveouts over the next six weeks would be overwhelmed by the economic costs of extending Victoria’s lockdown for six months. And that time frame, he maintains, is the only alternative.
The Andrews government, under pressure from the federal government, has still relaxed some of its restrictions on warehouses and distribution centres and services to prevent bottlenecks, particularly in crucial supplies of food and pharmaceuticals. Tradespeople are also now permitted to work across different building sites to make even limited construction feasible.
But the blanket nature of the Victorian rules for businesses is compounding the economic pain, and further straining relations between the Andrews government and Canberra despite the Prime Ministers public focus on co-operation.
We dont have to make the case theres been a massive failure by the Victorian government, says one senior federal politician. Its obvious.
Even so, Scott Morrison is now pointedly talking about the Victorian government being accountable for the restrictions and for the consequences of its own decisions, with the role of the federal government to provide whatever help it can.
I’m pleased that there have been some changes to the implementation of those measures and where further changes are needed, people can be assured that the Commonwealth would be pushing those issues quite strongly, he said on Friday.
But the way we’re doing that is by working into the government in Victoria … I don’t see a great advantage of engaging in that process in some sort of public spectacle.
That leaves the only real hope a continuing decline in Victorias new cases over the past few days with just under 400 reported Sunday thanks to the the lockdown and the intense if belated focus on contact tracing and testing.
Its still clear the Morrison governments frustration with Andrews approach is mounting, along with the rapidly rising costs to the whole nation. According to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Victorians deserve an explanation for the serious errors.
“I’ll let Daniel Andrews explain what happened on quarantine, a “devastated” Frydenberg declared in an unusually emotional TV interview on Friday. That’s for him to explain. That’s for him to account for.
“But there’s no doubt there’s been mistakes made. My job, and the Prime Minister’s job, is to get help to people who need it most.
Whats less clear is the political appeal of Frydenbergs comparisons between Canberras $300 billion-plus contribution to combating the economic effect of the virus relative to only around $40 billion so far spent by the states. This is supposed to prod state governments into doing more while reminding voters of the federal governments relative generosity.
But the public will still hold Canberra largely accountable for the financial help they receive to navigate a much harder path to what seems an increasingly remote illusion an economy ever reaching the other side.