Daniel Andrews has moved to extend the state of emergency of Victoria beyond September 13-for what will in fact be a total period of 18 months.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the State of Emergency gives the Chief Health Officer additional powers to issue directions to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
Each State of Emergency may operate for only six months at a time, under current legislation.
But Andrews said it would extend this next period for another 12 months-for a total of 18 months.
“It is not an unlimited extension, it is nothing more than a recognition that this virus won’t be over on September 13,” he told reporters on Monday.
“I would love nothing more for there to be no need for any rules on September 14, but I don’t think that is the reality.”
In a statement on Monday, the state government said changes to the 2008 Public Health and Wellbeing Act will be adopted on September 1, in order to enable the state of emergency to be in effect for this prolonged duration.
“(The State of Emergency) is the legal instrument that allows rules about facemasks, about COVID safe work plans in workplaces large and small, that is the legal instrument that sits behind density limits in pubs and cafes and restaurants,” Andrews said.
“So we simply can’t have those important roles in the legal framework that sits behind them, we can’t have that end on September 13, because this will not have ended by the 13th of next month.
“We will extend the State of Emergency provisions within the Public Health and Wellbeing act for a maximum of a further 12 months.”
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien told reporters Monday he ‘d be seeking to block the extension, saying “power has gone to the Premier’s head”.
— Laurel Irving (@laurel_irving) August 24, 2020
The State of Emergency has been extended 6 times since March.
Since August 2, Victoria has also been in a State of Disaster which will remain in place for up to a month.