Five kilometre furore

Five kilometre radius around Nar Nar Goon, as per the DHHS website.

A Liberal MP wants the five kilometre radius scrapped for residents living east of the Nar Nar Goon police checkpoint.

Narracan MP Gary Blackwood wrote to Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Monday 28 September, pleading for the rule to be relaxed in rural Cardinia communities.

“Many of these towns are tiny. Residents have limited access to a single supermarket, limited access to click and collect retail, if at all, and limited or no access to other food shopping,” Mr Blackwood said.

“They are struggling with the five kilometre limit that in many instances is not enough to get them to a town park or reserve for exercise.”

Mr Blackwood said the five kilometre zone might be effective in metropolitan Melbourne, but it wasn’t working for Cardinia Shire.

“In Spring Street, the five kilometre zone gets residents access to hundreds of parks, restaurants, takeaway outlets, click and collect retail and friends to exercise with,” he said.

“In rural Cardinia, you might get one park, you might get one takeaway cafe, you might get a local retailer who is still opening for click and collect. You definitely get 400 cows and a few hundred sheep.”

Five kilometre radius around Nar Nar Goon, as per the DHHS website.
Five kilometre radius from Spring Street, Melbourne.

Mr Blackwood, who has been actively campaigning for Cardinia to be removed from it’s questionable metropolitan title, said he didn’t want to give false hope to fed up residents.

He wants people travelling east of the checkpoint to be able to move around more freely, while those heading west would still be bound by the five kilometre radius.

“Ultimately, we want Cardinia – or parts of – to be rezoned to regional, but we’re trying another angle here to see if we can get some sort of action,” Mr Blackwood explained.

“I understand moving the boundary is difficult, however options do exist, but it appears they are not being considered.

“There’s no infection here, so they should be free to move about like those in the regions. It’s just frustrating and it’s not fair.”

The Liberal MP said the lockdown’s economic impact on local business had been “devastating”.

“Local businesses in each town have said they are finding it difficult to operate with hardly any customers given that few live within the five kilometre radius,” he explained.

“It is also limiting the ability for residents to exercise with limited parkland available. Many were anxious to use the newly relaxed two household outdoor meeting rule, only to discover they lived more than five kilometres from family or friends who may be within the next town.”

Premier Daniel Andrews was asked about a petition to remove Cardinia Shire from the metropolitan grip during Tuesday’s press conference.

“Look we’re not changing the metro/regional border,” he said.

“There’s no cases we no of, but not everyone who has symptoms gets tested … If we start carving up and redefining the whole state, that’s not necessarily conducive.”