With today’s announcement that regional Victoria has reached the necessary trigger point to progress to the Third Step of the Victorian government’s re-opening map, the Mornington Peninsula Shire is calling on the state government for a more tailored approach to address its unique circumstances.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mornington Peninsula has been classified as a metropolitan municipality, unlike its southern coastal ‘neighbours’ of Bass Coast, Borough of Queenscliffe, City of Geelong and Surf Coast Shire. Municipalities that share many similarities with the Mornington Peninsula.
Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO John Baker said our concern with summer being just around the corner is we will be inundated with visitors and we won’t have had the time to implement the changes outlined in the government’s roadmap An easing of restrictions will give us this valuable opportunity.
“These new measures that include space and customer limits, particularly for our hospitality and tourism industries, will take time to establish and implement. Our neighbouring coastal councils have been now been given the chance to set these up and iron out any wrinkles, well before the metropolitan lock down is eased. As the most popular weekend and holiday destination in the Victoria, we believe our businesses deserve the same opportunities”.
“With interstate travel restrictions likely to be in place for some time, we believe it’s inevitable that the Peninsula will receive higher than usual visitation in the lead up to and throughout the Summer holidays. Giving us time to plan now will help us to avoid the scenario where businesses can’t cope with a massive influx of day-trippers and holiday makers”.
“The relaxing of restrictions will also help us to start planning for our emergency and bushfire risk which is heightened over Summer”.
Mr Baker reinforced that community health and wellbeing was at the forefront of Council’s thinking and acknowledged that Mitchell Shire was rezoned earlier this year so there is a precedent for the government to consider a bespoke approach for an individual municipality.
“We would welcome further discussions with the state government to explore targeted and tailored options for the Mornington Peninsula,” he concluded.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire receives close to 7 million visitors a year.