The Informer: Out comes that big, metaphorical stick again

It's not the size of the dog in the fight .... but the stick in its mouth.
It's not the size of the dog in the fight .... but the stick in its mouth.

Authorities are relying on an old staple working as parts of Victoria get set to take a step towards "COVID normal" (whatever that is).

That staple is the ol' hip pocket one-two: go to regional Victoria from Melbourne and we'll slug you. Big time.

Cars have reportedly already started to queue at checkpoints into regional centres late afternoon before the midnight reopening.

But anyone trying to leave the "ring of steel" which surrounds metro Melbourne and the Greater Mitchell Shire and head into a safe regional town - watch out.

If you indeed fail to "comply with a requirement to remain in a restricted area" you'll receive a whopping fine of $4957.

Deputy Commissioner of regional operations Rick Nugent said police will be upping their patrols of checkpoints particularly during the school holidays and checking all cars towing caravans or boats.

He said if two people are caught leaving metro Melbourne, for example a mother and father, both will receive the fine and be sent home.

Meanwhile as that deterrent was metaphorically waved at adventurous/ignorant types, they dug through a few "whys and wherefores" at Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry today.

The state's Chief Health Officer is supposed to assume the role of a state controller and the "overall responsibility for emergency response operations" but it was agreed Professor Brett Sutton was too busy. Initially two bureaucrats were appointed (not supported by Prof Sutton) before Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kym Peake took over the role late in July (supported by Prof Sutton).

In between ensued Victoria's botched hotel quarantine program. Prof Sutton and his team were not directly involved in any part of that program and the professor made it clear to the inquiry he did not know security guards had been hired to oversee returned travellers until there were outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels. He also wanted the program reviewed after he was sidelined by bureaucrats.

On Thursday, the inquiry will hear from Victoria police commissioner Shane Patton and former commissioner Graham Ashton. The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is due to give evidence next week.

Queensland will consider reopening to ACT visitors by the end of the month, as the state's chief health officer looks at relaxing conditions to open the NSW border. Apparently there will be talks at the national cabinet meeting on Friday.

With a state election on October 31, you wonder if Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk might not hold out for a little longer (!?)

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