Aug 25, 2020

Dan Andrews has called a State of Emergency in Victoria until September 2021. What does that really mean?

In news overnight, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has announced plans to allow the current state of emergency to extend into mid September of 2021. Under the current Public Health and Wellbeing Act, a state of emergency can only be enacted for six months. With September 13th marking the originally proposed end of stage 4 lockdown, this date also marks six months since the state of emergency was first announced back in March. 

So what actually is a state of emergency and what does it mean for individuals? 

A state of emergency is a legal tool used by a government to enact public safety rules and legislation quickly and without needing to go through normal approval stages in parliament. 

It is under a state of emergency that mask mandates, public outing curfews, private hosting limits, and all other new rules and regulations enacted since the beginning of the outbreak have been passed and enforced as quickly as they have.

This doesn’t just apply to Victoria, all states and territories have been under differing levels of emergency restrictions in order to make the swift decisions that have been made around the nation. 

While infection rates are slowing across the state, the concern is that lifting the state of emergency in just under three weeks is far too early to be able to maintain this decline. And under a state of emergency, the government and the Department of Health and Human Services are able to make the quick decisions regarding public health that have been vital in keeping communities as safe as possible. 

“We’ve been in a State of Emergency since March – and we’ve renewed that State of Emergency six times already. But under the current legislation, we can’t renew it beyond next month,” said Dan Andrews in a Facebook post. 

“These laws weren’t written with such a prolonged and infectious virus in mind, and we need to change them to properly respond to this current pandemic.

“That’s why we’re introducing changes to allow the State of Emergency to be extended up until mid-September 2021.

“This doesn’t mean we will be in lockdown for another 12 months – or that we’re forced to remain in a State of Emergency for that long either.”

At this stage, the Victorian government has put forward the proposal for approval, so between now and September 13th, we’ll just have to see what happens. 

Image Source: Dan Andrews Facebook

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