Business groups say members are desperate for answers on Victoria’s plan to emerge from lockdown and need greater disclosure if cases spike again.

“It relates to the resetting of quarantine and because Corrections Victoria, which is not a DHHS agency, it’s a Department of Justice and Community Safety agency, in order to put those matters beyond any doubt and put the legal authority behind that reset.”
Mr O’Brien said Ms Mikakos had been demoted but the change was shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted”. However, he is engulfed in his own battle after The Australian Financial Reviewreported moves among some Liberals to replace him.
Michael O’Brien has been described by Jeff Kennett as balanced, very soft, very calm. Luis Ascui
Former Premier Jeff Kennett told the Financial Review he backed Mr O’Brien despite him being a lawyer and “very balanced, very soft and calm” and said Liberal protagonist Tim Smith was a “young bull” who still had to “learn the ropes” and “ain’t ready yet”.
Speaking to Victoria’s two key business groups engaged with the Andrews government on Thursday, both said their members were desperate for answers about the exit plan and were calling for greater disclosure on metrics if cases spike again.
More job losses
Job figures for July released on Thursday confirmed Victoria has lost more jobs than any other state with over 145,000 lost jobs since March including 21,000 full-time jobs lost last month, compared with NSW where less than 132,000 jobs have been lost.
“We would be really happy if it was sooner than six weeks than longer, the longer it goes the more damage and the more terminal it is for business,” said Paul Guerra, chief executive of Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Australian Industry Group’s Victorian director Tim Piper asked, “what does success look like, is it double figures, single figures and how long does it have to stay like that to reopen?”, after he spoke with 350 members on Thursday.
“A target would be helpful and what is the next stage, is it stage three hard or stage three light or what business has no idea.”
Mr Guerra, who has been battling COVID-19 himself, said they hoped restrictions would be lifted in just over four weeks as expected but wanted more transparency.
“The overarching theme from members is we accept we have to go through this and there is support for the Premier but business are demanding more transparency on how we come out of this. Business are saying what are the measures, what are the steps, so it telegraphs that to business and the public and we can rally behind it.”
Mr Guerra also wanted to see a daily dashboard on contact tracing including the time from test to result, the time from a positive test to the first contact tracing call and thirdly, the level of daily compliance with contact tracing calls.
Liberals claim Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has been demoted. PAEC
But Mr Andrews said it was too early to consider any relaxation of stage four.
If you look at the trend over the last seven days or so, these stage four restrictions, as challenging, as heart-breaking, as painful as they are, are working,” he said.
The moment we see a trend that we can have confidence in and faith in something thats got rigor to it and that the efficacy of that is well proven, then, then well be able to perhaps speculate a little bit more. But even then, it will always be heavily caveated to say, this could change really fast and weve seen that it moves rapidly, and circumstances can change any day where the numbers are lower.”
One day is not enough for us to, or even a week is not enough for us to be able to pretend that we that we can forecast whats going to happen in a fortnight, or even tomorrow,” he said.
Petty politics
The debate over restrictions comes after the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into the state’s COVID-19 response descended into petty politics on Thursday.
Liberal MP Richard Riordan accused Labor chair Lizzie Blandthorn of having an undisclosed conflict because her husband is Trade Minister Martin Pakula’s chief of staff.
Ms Blandthorn said the suggestion was “offensive” and Labor’s Tim Richardson said the Liberals were “under pressure with [leader] Michael O’Brien getting smashed and an incident of a Liberal at the inquiry swearing off camera as they questioned Mr Riordan about not wearing a mask.
Minister for Transport Jacinta Allen said she was briefed by her Department Secretary, after the critical meeting on March 27 which decided to use private security guards but the “request was a very defined and clean role” and Skybus was used a service already up and running.