Josh Frydenberg has slammed Daniel Andrews for turning Melbourne from the most liveable city in the world to the most locked down one.
The federal treasurer blamed the state premier for trashing the reputation of the city with his hardline stay-at-home orders in an op-ed for The Herald Sun.
‘Melbourne has gone from the world’s most liveable city to the world’s most locked down city,’ he wrote.
‘The damage done by lockdowns is clear. Our cafes are quiet; our lanes are empty; and our stadiums, normally filled with cheering fans, are deserted.’
Melbourne holds the record for the most days spent in lockdown since the pandemic began at the start of 2020.
The Victorian capital city has spent more than 255 days in stay-at-home orders, beating the previous 234 days held by Buenos Aires in Argentina.
The never ending lockdowns has forced businesses to close their doors, pushed thousands of staff out of work and driven down real estate prices so that Melbourne is now the cheapest capital city to rent a home – for the first time ever.
‘Melbourne is famous for its cultural vitality; its music, museums, and its warm hospitality,’ Mr Frydenburg wrote. ‘But Covid has hit and hit us hard.’
Mr Frydenberg called on Mr Andrews to begin rolling back restrictions in line with his neighbouring state NSW.
‘Victorians who have given up so much, are rightly asking the question; why are the people of NSW granted more freedoms at 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates than they are?’ he wrote.
‘Victorians, like those in NSW, have done the right thing and got the jab, and in return, they deserve their lives and their freedoms back.’
NSW and Victoria have provided different roadmaps to life out of lockdown at the 70 and 80 per cent double dose vaccination target.
NSW scrapped its five kilometre travel rule for Sydneysiders when the state hit the 70 per cent target last week.
Victoria intends to keep a 25km travel radius for Melbourne residents when it reaches the milestone on October 26.
Face masks will still be mandatory in both indoors and outdoor settings. NSW, on the other hand, has only mandated it for public indoor settings.
NSW will also scrap guest limits on weddings and funerals when the state reaches 80 per cent double dose – expected this weekend.
Victoria will enforce a 150 person cap on weddings and funerals when it reaches the mark on November 6.
The never ending lockdowns has also impacted the real estate market with Melbourne now the cheapest capital city to rent a home.
Melbourne’s weekly median rent for houses now sits at $430, less than any other city and $10 less than the next cheapest Adelaide, according to a Domain report released on Thursday.
Unit rental prices are also the lowest coming in at an average of $375 per week.
As the Victorian city recently became the most locked down place in the world, Domain’s Chief of Economics and Research Dr Nicola Powell said a ‘mass exodus’ had seen many Melburnians flee interstate or into regional areas.
‘Tenants have grappled with the longest lockdown of any city in the world and that’s really weighed on people’s decisions about where they’re going to live,’ she told 7 News.Internet Explorer Channel Network