A Victorian police chief has lashed out at Daniel Andrews’ ‘unpopular and deeply restrictive’ night curfew and playground ban as the state confirmed another 24 new Covid-19 cases overnight.
The hardline state premier has introduced a 9pm to 5am curfew in Melbourne and closed playgrounds, basketball courts and skate parks as he extended the city’s stay-at-home orders until at least September 2.
But Police Association Victoria Secretary Wayne Gatt said enforcing ‘unpopular and deeply restrictive rules for a prolonged period’ would harm community support for the force.
‘Police are now tasked with enforcing a curfew that no one has welcomed, and to prevent families from going to playgrounds that bring them joy,’ he wrote in an opinion piece in the Herald Sun on Wednesday.
‘I hope that our members do not have to ever actively enforce this ban on playgrounds.’
Victoria’s 24 new cases on Wednesday include 18 who were in isolation for their entire infectious period.
The health department said 20 of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks, while the remaining four are mystery infections.
In Wyndham, west of Melbourne, council workers were up early on Tuesday following the Chief Medical Officer Professor Brett Sutton’s advice that all playground facilities should be closed.
He said the move was supported by solid evidence children’s playgrounds were breeding grounds for the virus.
‘We are investigating a potential transmission in a playground,’ he claimed.
‘It is not definitive and maybe we will not be able to make it definitive but it looks like there has been transmission in a playground.’
For families home schooling young children, the ban on playgrounds comes as a slap in the face.
In Flemington housing commission blocks, whose residents have endured the harshest of lockdowns, the agony of park closures cannot be understated.
For parents with kids requiring special needs, the closures are simply unforgivable.
In June, one Melbourne mum, who did not wish to be named, told Daily Mail Australia her autistic child had been chewing his arm due to the stress of being kept at home.
‘Children who have differing abilities and attend special schools often don’t have the capacity to understand why they can’t go to school which can cause extreme behaviours such as self harm and meltdowns,’ she said.
The mum was already at her wits end on Tuesday before the park closures even kicked in.
‘This will be the end of me,’ she said.
Outside the taped-off playground at Presidents Park in Werribee, another mum pondered what many other residents are likely thinking.
‘Why don’t they just get a few council workers down here to clean down the swings every few minutes. It’s not like they’re doing anything anyway,’ she said.Internet Explorer Channel Network