Oct 20, 2020

Dan Andrews October 20 COVID-19 Press Conference

Dan Andrews October 19 Press Conference
RevBlogTranscriptsAustralia COVID-19 Briefing TranscriptsDan Andrews October 20 COVID-19 Press Conference

Premier of Victoria Dan Andrews held an October 20 press conference with coronavirus updates. Read the full transcript of the news conference here.

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Premier Daniel Andrews: (00:00)
Cases since yesterday’s update. Of those three cases, two are linked to the northern metro community outbreak. There’s one case under investigation that we believe is a household contact of a known case. So those three are all, you might say, are contained with a public health response around them. One case was reclassified. There are 10 Victorians in hospital, and none of those are receiving intensive care. The total of 2,984, 494 test results have been received since the beginning of the year. That is a very impressive increase of 17,409 test results received overnight. So nearly 79 and a half thousand tests. Again, thank you to everyone who’s come forward and got tested out of those 79 and a half thousand people. And that’s really very, very important.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (00:55)
And if there’s one message today and every day that people take away from these briefings, please get tested as soon as you register any symptoms. That way we can stop the spread of this virus. That’s good for you, for your family, and every family. That’s a very impressive number at 79,409. And we’re deeply grateful to every one of those people who have gone and got tested. There are eight healthcare workers who are active cases. The rolling average to 20 October, metro 6.2, regional Victoria, just 0.4. There are now, within the 14 day window [inaudible 00:01:32] in Hume, one in Hobsons Bay local government areas. And the split on active cases is 106 in Metro Melbourne and three in regional Victoria. And those three are the three active cases in Greater Shepparton that we’ve spoken about a few times now in recent days. There are now only eight active cases in residential age care, which is very important given the vulnerability of that sector.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (02:05)
I just then want to talk, just for a moment, on the case yesterday. The person from yesterday that had tested positive twice, the first time back in July, is currently regarded as a reinfection of coronavirus. That person will be recorded as a positive case. We’ve spoken a little bit about the fact that we have an expert panel who sit and look at all the detail of these sorts of complex cases. And I can confirm that they have reviewed this particular case, and they’ve concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to say that the positive test represented persistent viral shedding. So the case is being managed very cautiously and further investigations are ongoing. So it’s through an abundance of caution that we’re assuming that that is a positive case, rather than that person shedding the virus sometime after the original infection. There have been very, very few reported cases of reinfection around the world.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (03:07)
And it’s also the case that persistent shedding over a long period of time can be a feature of this virus. This is understandably frustrating for everyone involved, whether this is in fact, a positive case or not. But we do take a very cautious approach. And I think that is the best way to go. In fact, the only way to go. Now, the Planning Minister has joined us to talk about some very important matters. But just before he does that, I wanted to just quickly run through grants and hospitality support that we’ve provided to that vitally important part of our economy, and indeed our way of life. Outdoor hospitality support package of $58 million is available with grants of up to $5,000 for hospitality businesses to pay for practical things to support outdoor dining. Applications opened on 1 October, and we’ve already received 5,200 of those.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (03:59)
And 1, 200 payments had been processed as of the 16th of October. Further, $29.5 million is available in grants of up to $500,000 for metropolitan councils and 250,000 for rural councils to help with fast tracking permits and investing in some of the lighting and other things that might be necessary to turn streetscapes into outdoor drinking and dining areas. There is a high degree of interest from local councils, and I thank them for the way in which they’ve approached this task. Those grants, I think, have been approved for almost a third of councils. As part of our $100 million capital city recovery fund, a partnership with the Lord Mayor Sally Capp, grants of up to $10,000 are available to help CBD businesses bring their outdoor spaces to life and try to transition to COVID-safe. Those grants also open on the 1st of October. I don’t have a number on exactly how many of those applications have been received. Just finally, on business support more broadly, 78,000 applications have been submitted to the business support fund, the third round of funding, with around 47,000 applications, which is just under $500 million having been paid out.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (05:19)
Licensed hospitality venue fund, nearly 6,000 applications have been submitted. And 1,100 applications have been approved, with about $24 million paid out. So I raise those issues because there’s targeted, very substantial support for those businesses. We know and understand how important they are for jobs for our offering to the world. It is a big part of our culture and a big part of our Victorian economy. But support doesn’t just come in the form of cash. It also comes in the form of good decisions made quickly. And to that end, I’m now going to throw to the Planning Minister to talk about some planning changes that will facilitate not just COVID-safe, outdoor dining this summer, but what I think may will be a feature of our city and our state for many summers to come.

Hon Richard Wynne: (06:14)
Thanks very much, Premier. And really, adding on from the substantial package of support that the government has provided to the hospitality industry. As we know as restrictions ease, we want to give hospitality every opportunity to thrive. And we are going to be removing any planning hurdle to support their efforts. We understand absolutely, that for hospitality to really get back on its feet, we need to not only provide the infrastructure support that we are providing, but today I can announce that the government has removed all hurdles to allow hospitality to, in fact, expand its operation outdoors. What this means, of course, is that there has been an inconsistent application of the restrictions, in terms of local governments not providing an approach that is consistent across all of local government.

Hon Richard Wynne: (07:16)
So we’ve put in place a planning scheme amendment that really removes all of the hurdles to any hospitality venue that has already a permit for outdoor dining. Now, this is important because we know that there is a huge appetite from hospitality as the Premier has indicated, not just in the CBD, but across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. So this planning scheme amendment is for the whole of Victoria. So the opportunity is there for any hospitality venue that wishes to expand its existing legal operation, to do so without having any hurdle in its way. We know also, that from the point of view of our consistency of applications, this is really important. We’ll have this in for an initial 12 months period, where we will assess it going forward. And as a Premier has indicated, this may well be the future of how planning deals with these outdoor applications going forward.

Hon Richard Wynne: (08:29)
In talking with local government, it’s been quite extraordinary, the level of interest that there is from hospitality venues to not only get up and thrive, but looking at really innovative ways that they want to operate in the future. So whether it’s in the CBD, or whether it’s in regional Victoria, or whether it’s in suburban outlets, or strip shopping centers, people are looking for incredibly innovative ways to ensure that they can get up and going and ensure that their outdoor venues are appropriate. So there’ll be opportunities, for instance, to look at things like car parks. For instance, in the evening, where car parks are not being utilized well enough, they may be opportunities for pop-ups to be utilized in those spaces.

Hon Richard Wynne: (09:24)
Obviously, we’re looking at the question of being able to push existing dining out into the street, by removing some car parking and providing an opportunity for an expanded operation. We’re looking, of course, at open space, more generally our parks and the innovation that really local government. And indeed the hospitality industry, has shown, really I think, is going to be an exemplar, not only for this state, but indeed for the nation, in terms of how we seek to move out of these restrictions to a more COVID normal environment for the hospitality industry going forward. We want to ensure that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the hospitality industry. We know they’ve done it very, very tough. It’s been very challenging for them, but removing these hurdles is a really important step going forward. And I know that, not only will they embrace it, but local government more generally.

Andrew: (10:24)
Can we please ask a bit about just the numbers today?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (10:31)

Andrew: (10:33)
Firstly, the person who’s reinfected… Does that mean they’re back in another 14 days of isolation?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (10:39)
Well, yes, they would be, because they’re being treated as if it’s a fresh coronavirus case now. I won’t speculate about whether they are or aren’t. All the experts have sat around and looked at all the testing and everything, the science that sits behind that, like the biology that sits behind that. And they can’t determine whether it’s shedding or whether it’s fresh, new. So through an abundance of caution, the assumption is that they’ve got it for a second time. Now, if that is in fact the case, and I think it’s always better to be cautious. If that is in fact the case, well then that’ll be one of, I think, only a handful of those sorts of reinfection cases that we’ve seen anywhere in the world.

Andrew: (11:22)
The three mystery cases that have dropped off now… It was 13 yesterday. It’s 10 today. Do you know if that’s because you’ve managed to link some to other outbreaks, or if they just fallen off because they’re the back end of the 14 days?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (11:33)
It could be either. I’m not certain. What I do know, is that that expert panel has been each day this week, probably again today, going through each of the mystery cases from recent times and trying to work out, through a very painstaking process, “Are they a genuine mystery case or do we have a suspicion? Do we have a theory? And is it robust enough to call that not a mystery case?” I’m more than happy to make sure that that’s a feature, if it can be, a feature of the chief health officer’s release.

Speaker 1: (12:05)
Premier, the person who’s reinfected, are they a healthcare worker or a contact?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (12:10)
I don’t have any details on who they are, but again, if it’s appropriate for us to speculate on that or to confirm that in any way, I’m more than happy to make sure that there’s an update. These are the words from public health for me to go to today, so I think it’s appropriate. There was a bit of speculation yesterday about was it really a one, or was it zero? It’s being treated as one, because frustratingly, despite some very, very clever people who do this for a living, going through all the different elements of this that can’t be satisfied to a pretty high standard, that this is not a new positive case, even as unlikely as it is that you can get this twice. At least that’s the advice we have.

Speaker 2: (12:49)
How concerning is it to see a reinfection in our community?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (12:52)
Well, this is where we are assuming, through an abundance of caution, that this person has got it for a second time. I think the international picture is one where there’s, literally, a handful out of millions and millions of cases across the world. It would seem that there’s only a very, very small number that are in that category. And perhaps, we’ll never actually know. But I think it’s better to assume and be cautious than to jump to a conclusion that the best of science can’t confirm for you. I think this is the best way to go.

Speaker 3: (13:22)
Will there be extra testing on this person, given it could be Australia’s first, and only a handful worldwide?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (13:28)
I would assume so. I think there’s been a couple of tests just as part of this most recent, the person testing positive. It wasn’t just a single test. The person was re-tested. I’m not quite sure how many times, but there were multiple tests. And it may well be that they continue to test this person because if it is, as they very cautiously have determined, against an extremely high threshold, to not count this as a positive. You’ve got to meet a very high threshold. It doesn’t quite get this. They are making an assumption in favor of public health, if you like. I’m sure that there’ll be a lot of interest in this case, and they’ll look to monitor it and try and make that judgment. Maybe they can make that judgment at a later point and not have it as a reinfection, but indeed, as a shedding case.

Speaker 2: (14:15)
So this extremely rare and potentially catastrophic event, why isn’t the chief health officer here to explain it to Victorians?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (14:21)
Well, the chief health officer has many different things to do, and he’ll be getting about doing those things. I don’t think it’s potentially catastrophic, as such. I think that every case is important. Every case is significant, but I think I’ve explained the context of this. It’s through an abundance of caution that the doctors are assuming that it is a reinfection. If it is a reinfection, it’ll be one of, literally, I think it’s single figures. It might even be less than five. I’m happy to have others to get some of the international literature and make sure that it’s a feature of the chief health officer’s release letter.

Andrew: (14:58)
Can I just ask something about the daily tweet in the morning?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (14:59)

Andrew: (15:00)
On Sundays, we get in the morning, the number of active cases and that mystery case calendar. There doesn’t appear to be any consistency about when we get that. Is it possible, especially for the test numbers and that mystery case calendar… Can we get that put out each morning from the department?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (15:17)
I’ll certainly ask the question. I think it is important to acknowledge that even though the numbers are very low, there’s still data coming in from lots of different places.

Andrew: (15:26)
I think that’s why people like to see the data.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (15:28)
Yeah. One of the last numbers that I get… So I’ll get a couple of calls during the evening, and then we sort of close off pretty late at night when whatever’s on the board. That number can move up or down. It’s a guide, if you like. I don’t get a test number of total tests results received until the following morning when that city rep comes through, because that’s… Obviously, we focus on positives in the first instance, and then we tally up all the negative results as a kind of secondary exercise. But I’m more than happy to ask the question if there’s more information and if there’s a…

Premier Daniel Andrews: (16:03)
In their exercise, but I’m more than happy to ask the question if there’s more information and if there’s a greater consistency that we can bring to that, fine.

Andrew: (16:06)
Did you agree with the decision to allow for scientists to attend the [inaudible 00:16:10]?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (16:11)
Yes, I did. And it was the wrong decision to make, and that’s why it’s not happening. And for any inconvenience or any distress that’s caused, I’m very sorry. But that will not be happening on Saturday.

Andrew: (16:23)
How did you think that it was a good idea given what everybody else is being forced to endure?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (16:27)
Well, again, I’m not here to defend the decision. We have basically changed that, it is not happening on Saturday. There will be, I think some owners at a later point and hopefully at that later point we’ve made other changes, I suppose, [inaudible 00:00:58] with you. And so it was the wrong judgment to make the minister spoken to that this morning, I’m confirming for you that it’s not happening. And I am perhaps less focused on what’s not happening on Saturday and more focused on what I genuinely hope can happen on Sunday. And that’s some announcements around further easing, which will make lots of things possible and give people back many different freedoms and lots of different, important parts of their life, but they have well and truly earned.

Speaker 4: (17:14)
Can you please explain why it was considered safe for 500 plus people to attend the races, but still thousands of local businesses can’t reopen?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (17:22)
Well, I’m not here to provide medical advice. This went through a normal process. It was deemed safe. They weren’t all, literally they weren’t all sitting on top of each other or next to each other. They would have been spread out and they would have been there in smaller numbers over the course of the day. Again, I’m not here to interpret that, but it went through the normal process, but it was the wrong decision or cop that it, the right thing to do is to change it. That’s what we’ve done. It won’t be happening on Saturday.

Speaker 4: (17:49)
Constantly told that these decisions are based on science and data. Is that fair to say that that wasn’t based on science and data?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (17:55)
That’s not fair to say at all.

Speaker 4: (17:55)

Premier Daniel Andrews: (17:57)
That’s not fair to say at all. I’ve just confirmed for you that these matters went through the normal process and there was public health advice and it is wrong to characterize. It’s not 500 people in a space, the size of this it’s outdoors, all those things. In any event, in any event, you went through the normal process. It was the wrong decision. We ever seen it. That decision, this is not happening on Saturday. And with the greatest of respect on much more focused on what is potentially happening on Sunday, rather than the things that are not happening on Saturday. I apologize if there’s any distress or concern that’s been caused. I think that it was not the right decision to make, but it was right to cancel that and to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

Andrew: (18:35)
And can we just clarify canceled because it was unpopular. So it was acceptable from a public health point of view, but canceled because it’s unpopular, is that correct?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (18:42)
Yes. And it was canceled because clearly I didn’t make the expectations of the Victorian community, but it is wrong for anyone to suggest that this didn’t go through a process. It went through a process, public health advice, all of those things, but clearly it was when you reflect upon it, it was not the right decision to make. I probably, I can’t be any more Frank than that. We shouldn’t have made that decision we did. And now that decision has been changed and those that will not be occurring on Saturday. And hopefully there is a time once we’ve made, we do genuinely hope on Sunday to be able to make some announcements about the future. And if these numbers stay on trend, then we will be able to do that. And there’ll be a place for lots of different events, but there’ll be rather than one particular event being treated differently. There will be perhaps a greater freedom across many different events. And hopefully that meets with significant support.

Andrew: (19:35)
People are justified in having less confidence. If you might made that decision, that you can see.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (19:42)
That’s many more than ice.

Andrew: (19:43)
Ministers, when you made that decision many people justified in having less confidence in you,

Premier Daniel Andrews: (19:48)
I would respect the side of people know I wouldn’t involve people to form that conclusion. Some might that’s, that’s a matter for them, but if you get it wrong, then you stand up and you say so, and change the decision and move on. And that’s exactly what we’ve, what we’ve done and it won’t be happening. So I think that is the appropriate step to have taken minister for ricing has spoken about this a bit this morning, understand he’s going to do a press conference later on today, and he can answer any other specific questions that you have about an event that’s not happening. I know it’s of great interest, but it is not happening. I can confirm that for everybody watching and listening at home.

James: (20:18)
Were you able to say who who actually approved take us through the process of how it?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (20:22)
I think the process is well understood. There’s public health advice from the public health team. There’s a cabinet committee, there’s lots of discussions back and forth on literally hundreds and thousands of issues. This decision was made. It was not the right decision to make that’s what’s been tried.

James: (20:36)
Were you surprised by the racing minister’s decision to cancel it? He said this morning that he didn’t speak to you?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (20:41)
I was on the phone, I think on an unrelated phone call when he was kind of swiped to me. And when I hung the phone up, there was a few messages. And I think he’d spoken to my office in the intervening period. And I fully supported, we had some text exchanges after that. Well, after that, I fully supported the decision that he made to essentially cancel what was going to occur on Saturday. I think that’s the right thing. That’s the right thing to do.

James: (21:03)
Sorry. Did read something approved the crowd size, was he happy with that number of [inaudible 00:21:08]

Premier Daniel Andrews: (21:08)
All through the normal public health team, all those channels. And that’s all signed off by that team. That, that isn’t the issue. The issue is that didn’t meet the expectations of the community. It was not the right decision to make. And that’s why that will not be happening.

Speaker 4: (21:23)
Victorians feel that the issue is they still can’t have more than 10 people at a funeral and they can’t open up their business if they’re free shell pubs. So why are you waiting till Saturday? Why can’t you do it now? If it’s all of a sudden safe to have 500 people at a racetrack?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (21:39)
I’m not waiting.

Speaker 4: (21:39)
So why wait until Sunday?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (21:40)
Why waiting on Sunday?

Speaker 4: (21:41)
On November 1?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (21:42)
Right. I think we have established, or certainly tried to establish I’ve many, many weeks and months now that we have to wait for case numbers each day, I cannot predict what the number will be tomorrow. I predict what the number will be on Friday. We cannot predict what the number will be on Saturday and therefore we’re waiting until Sunday. And I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing. And what’s more, I will confirm for people that it won’t be a series of snap announcements that will come into effect moments after I leave the stage on Sunday, there’ll be a process. If we can get the numbers into that, into that zone, if you like where we’re confident to take another step, I’ll be confirming those arrangements hopefully on Sunday. And then there’ll be some days where people will be given an opportunity to be ready for that.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (22:33)
Particularly if this relates finishes up relating to retails, to bars, restaurants, cafes, many of the venues that Richard has despised about in terms of planning, they’ll need to be COVID ready. They’ll need to put their COVID safe planning. It’s been called a dark opening. Some people have called it that in the industry. We think that’ll be time well spent, but we’ve just got to wait till Sunday to see what these numbers show us. The good thing is that the trend this week are very low numbers and they falling in all categories, whether it be mystery cases or indeed overall numbers. And the other good news is just as are reported off the top. The trend here is cases that we already know about, or sorry, people that we already know about that then become infected, but they’re in a contained environment. They house all context or context of those household contexts. They’re not, if you like the random and unexpected cases, they’re already known to us. And they’re part of a rigorous public health response. So that’s, that’s the other, I think, pleasing and a comforting trend, but trans arnie matter if they mind time for a period of time. And that’s what we have to wait till Sunday.

Andrew: (23:44)
Or do you classify the box, your hospital outbreak as contained? Is that considered contained now?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (23:53)
I believe so, but again, let me have the chief health officer. I don’t want to put a label on something if it, if it’s not. But I think certainly if, if you, rather than using that term as a sort of a clinical term, if you use it in a common sense, light sense. Yes. Because we’ve got a good picture of everybody who was infected their context and their context again. So we’ve got a pretty complete picture of that. Can I guarantee that nobody at any point in the future test positive with some link back to that? I can’t say that, but I think in the light use of that term, yes.

Andrew: (24:26)
Brilliant. Are you aware of the letter from several CEOs calling on the Victorian government to reopen workplaces?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (24:32)
Yes, I am. And look, people are afraid to have use, and people are free to put those views in whatever way they see fit all. I’d say to those CEOs and, every single Victorian is there is a sequence to this and it’s got to be done properly. You’ve got to deal with the health problem first, so that then you can begin the, the, the really important job of repairing the damage that this pandemic done to us in lots of different ways, at a very personal level family level community economy. And when we say the economy, different sectors, different businesses, different workers have been impacted. That’s why the budget forthcoming budget will be focused on not this jobs for their own sake, but jobs because a job is about security. It’s about a sense of confidence for you and the people you love the most about what next week looks like, what next month looks like, what next year looks like.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (25:23)
That’s what the budget will be all about. Projects, large and small. I understand why people are frustrated. We all are, but to those CEOs and others, I do very much hope. And if these numbers continue to be on trend, we will be able to have more to say on the weekend.

Speaker 4: (25:38)
Did You read that letter?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (25:40)
I have not read the letter, but I have seen, I’ve seen reports of it. Again, people are afraid of sent letters. People afraid to have positions. It’s not compulsory to agree, but what is absolutely compulsory is that we see this thing through and the, the amazing sacrifice, the amazing work, the pine, all the hurtful that has been given by Victorians have got us, has got us into this place. And that’s why, hopefully on Sunday, we can have more to say about what the weeks and months ahead.

Andrew: (26:12)
A lot of the things you’ve announced for places like hospitality are about making things easier to do into the future. A lot of the pain, if you own a cafe or a restaurant is you’re just, bleeding money for months and months and months. Is there going to be something in the budget where the businesses we’ve asked to shut down, especially, nightclubs, theaters, gyms, are they going to receive any, Hey, here’s some just, here’s an extra grand. Here’s some extra money because you just haven’t been open for six months is that.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (26:40)
The budget will be delivered on budget day. But what I would say though, is all of our assistance has been targeted, particularly at those sectors that have been hardest hit. And obviously they’re the hardest hit is when you are told because of the greater good and because of public health advice and the best of reasons that you have to close by are those that have been hardest hit. So I think if they full follows, not as an, not by way of announcement, but in terms of what we have done, the practice that we have established over many months now is that if we get to the budget or even,later in the year, and we’ve still got businesses that are closed, then of course we would always reserve the right to provide further support to them because we would recognize, and we do now that they’re doing it very, very tough. Those who are back open in whatever form that takes, obviously they’re in a slot they’re in a better, a better set of circumstances. Then, another business who isn’t, but that’s that principal’s good to us all the way through and on and on. I don’t see that changing.

Andrew: (27:39)
Have you been asked to give another statement of hotel quarantine court?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (27:44)
No, I’ve been asked to answer a few pretty basic questions. I would call it an exercise for our completeness sake. If you like, I’m not changing evidence. I’m not, not been asked to. That’s not about some inconsistency that’s been pointed out. It’s just, there’s been a few developments in recent times, whether it be mr. Eccles or others, and on that basis for the sake of completeness, some pretty basic questions have been put to me and we will respond in due course.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (28:11)
Well, they come in the form of a questionnaire, James. So they come in the form of questions. One, two, three, four, five. I mean, there are, and just like a witness statement and you answer those questions and you swear that it’s true and correct. And that’s exactly what we’ll do. Nothing more or less than that.

James: (28:25)
We try to explain any changes to your original.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (28:28)
Absolutely not. You, you should not expect that because there is simply no need to do that. Well, now this is not appropriate for me to be going into those details. Just like that was the same answer months ago, when the witness statement questionnaire came to me, that is a matter for the board and it is appropriate that they, make a judgment about what, if anything, they think should be out there in the public domain. It is a live process. It’s an ongoing process. And as we always have done, we will cooperate fully.

James: (28:58)
Chris decided to resign because of the appearance of conflicting evidence, not because of a finding of the board, why isn’t the chief health officer doing the same?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (29:08)
Well, the board will look at those matters. They are. I think from the hearing yesterday, it’s pretty clear that these are very live, but they’re looking at these issues and, others, and I’ll leave it to them to make findings or not. As they see if it’s fit, the chief health officer has got a very important job to do. He’s getting on and doing that. He leads a team. It’s not just one person. There’s a bit a group of them. And I’m grateful to all of them, and on that, but on the basis that these matters, I think it’s fair to say, as we are here right now, the board is looking at these issues and I just don’t think it’s appropriate that I should be running a commentary on that. There’ll be a time for that though of course, when the final reports handed down.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (29:54)
Yes, I do.

James: (29:55)
What do you think about his apparent timeline?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (29:59)
That’s not a matter of no judgements about those matters. I’ve set up an inquiry to answer those questions and to make judgements on those sorts of issues. It’s not for me to run two processes. If you like, he’s got a bit to get on with and he’s working hard. That’s, what’s most important. The board’s doing its job. That’s a separate issue. And when they report, we’ll be able to have a longer discussion about what it is they find.

James: (30:20)
Concern that. Sorry. Are you concerned that it appears as if he’s instructed the department’s lawyers not to hand up what would appear to be quite a critical email?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (30:28)
I’m not trying to avoid the question. I’m just, and you’re free to ask it. I don’t believe I’ve got the freedom, quite the freedom. You have to ask it in my answer. So what I’m concerned to do is to make sure that the process is not one that is influenced by anybody in the government. It’s at arms length. It’s not finished yet. I know that’s frustrating. I’d love them to report tomorrow, but they’ve got a big job do, and they’re going to be looking at hundreds of thousands of documents and witnesses and all sorts of questions. And they need to be given the time to finish that work

Andrew: (31:01)
A line in the letter from the department, he is the professor Sutton didn’t need the email to clarify as evidence. And therefore the email did not need to be provided. Does that mean that he didn’t want the email provided?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (31:17)
I’m not entirely sure what that line means. I’m not involved in the production of that theory or viewpoint or letter that correspondence comes from lawyers. It doesn’t come from me.

Andrew: (31:30)
Emails shouldn’t be provided. Are you aware that of him saying to anyone, you shouldn’t provide the email?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (31:35)
First. I heard of that was when I read it this morning, again, I don’t want to be a commentator. So this is not an invitation for me to become one, but I think the board yesterday made it pretty clear that they, want that material they’ve sought that material. And as I would fully expect that that material will be handed up if it hasn’t been already. But I think it was actually, it was led and titled yesterday. So I think they’ve got it. And I’m in no position to make a judgment about, about those matters, but perhaps the board will that’s…

Premier Daniel Andrews: (32:02)
[inaudible 00:00:02], but perhaps the board will. That’s an important part of their work.

Speaker 5: (32:04)
Would he have had a role in saying what emails should go?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (32:08)
Again, I have made no judgments on those matters. That question was asked. He answered it from this podium a couple of days ago. And beyond that, it’s for the independent board, Judge Cote, and those who are assisting her, to deal with those issues, and many, many others.

Speaker 5: (32:26)
And do you think it was okay for a journalist to go and knock on his door? Is that okay?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (32:32)
I’ve done this for a very long time, and I have never… I stand to be corrected, but I don’t think I’ve ever criticized any of you for the work that you do. I don’t always like what’s on the front page of the paper. I sometimes don’t even think it’s particularly fair, but that’s not the game. Get on and do the job. That’s what I do. And I will just say it. So I would hope there was a recognition in this room and others. I don’t ring editors. That’s not who I am. You got a job to do, go and do it. That’s all fine. And people will make their own judgements about whether what’s in the papers is accurate or meets with agreement. But I will say this. Was there a shortage of photographs of Brett Sutton? Really? Well, how many photos has been taken of that bloke over the last year? Lots, I would’ve thought. Lots. That’s all I’ll say.

Speaker 5: (33:28)
And if he’s a public servant and not a politician, is it a different rule for whether or not someone from Australia can go and knock on his door?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (33:35)
I don’t make the rules for the press.

Speaker 5: (33:38)
No. I’m just asking you to make a judgment.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (33:38)
I don’t make the rules, and I don’t try and impose rules. I’ll just make the point. I don’t know that there was a desperate need for a brand new, fresh photograph of the chief health officer. He has stood here and in other forums on literally hundreds of occasions. I don’t need to be drawn any further than that. You guys have got a job to do. As I said, I’m not someone who’s on the phone three times a day, screaming at journos or editors complaining about the coverage we get. You do your job, I’ll do mine, and people will make their own judgements. That’s the approach I’ve always taken for 20 years now, but you’ve asked me a question. I’ve answered it, I think, without crossing that line, which I think is important. Your job is very important. And there are some in my business, who spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about the coverage they get. I’m not one of them.

Speaker 6: (34:25)
When will Brett Sutton be back to that briefing?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (34:28)
Either him or Alan Ching will be here when it’s appropriate for them to be here. They don’t attend every briefing. They attend when there’s something material to go through. I don’t know when either of them will be here, but they’ll be here as and when.

Speaker 7: (34:43)
Premier, four babies have died from South Australia in the last month. These children would have normally been transferred to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital for heart surgery. They couldn’t go there because of COVID restrictions. Can you explain what’s happened?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (34:58)
Well, no, I don’t know that it’s correct that COVID restrictions were the cause of them not traveling here. Firstly, let me express my deep… And I’ve got three kids. I know a bit about the children’s hospital. I was very proud to play just a small part in building it. And I know and understand the quality of care and the range, the scope of practice, the range of services that are run there. And the reason why we all have a deep, personal connection to the Royal Children’s Hospital is that many of us, as parents, have seen our kids get care there. And we’re all comforted by the fact that they don’t just provide run of the mill care, they provide care that can be accessed nowhere else, in many different specialty fields, pediatric, and particularly, in their natal cardiac surgery. We don’t just do the best work in Australia. We do some of the best work in the world.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (35:50)
I want to send my sympathies to those parents. This’ll be a very difficult time for them. That’d never leave you, I don’t think. That’d be something that would touch you and be with you forever. So I send my sympathies, but I don’t think it was a matter of restrictions, that there was a choice, not at our end, but at the other end, for them not to be sent. I make no judgements about that. I’m happy to try and get some more detail on that. But as I’m advised, and again, I can only go on what I’ve been told, I don’t think that it was a, “You can’t come here,” type of deal, but again, that’s a terrible tragedy. And if there’s anything else that I can provide you or have the health minister or somebody from the department, or indeed, from the Royal Children’s Hospital provide you, then I’m more than happy to follow that up.

Speaker 8: (36:36)
Premier, just one more [inaudible 00:36:38] on the other thing.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (36:38)

Speaker 8: (36:39)
Not the decision about the Cox place, but the announcement. Why was that announcement made mid-week when everything else that’s announced we have to wait for a Sunday?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (36:49)
I’ve got no idea. I didn’t make the announcement. That was a media release, wasn’t it?

Speaker 8: (36:53)
You made the decision.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (36:56)
I’m not hung up quibbling with that. I’m being honest with you. I don’t know what was announced yesterday.

Speaker 8: (37:00)
Well, why was it made yesterday? Or why was it made beforehand when all the other restriction decisions sort of made up until say, [inaudible 00:37:08]?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (37:10)
This is a decision that is not happening. It’s been made. It’s been changed. It’s not happening on Saturday. Obviously, if you made a decision about an event that it was occurring on Saturday, then you couldn’t wait till Sunday to make that. I think that’s the point I would make. I wouldn’t write any more into it than that, other than, it was the wrong call, it’s now been changed, it won’t be happening. And I don’t know that there’s much more that I can add, other than to, again, confirm for everybody listening and watching at home, it was the wrong call. It’s been changed. It’s been fixed. It will not be happening. Let’s not so much focus on what’s not happening on Saturday, but instead be focused on what may well be able to happen on Sunday, and that is further easing of these rules because of the amazing job and hard work that so many Victorians have done.

Speaker 9: (38:02)
With the Grand Finals on Saturday, and you’ve been very clear that they won’t the decision makers on easing restrictions until Sunday, yet this decision, on what appears to be an easy of some restrictions, was made on a Tuesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (38:17)
[inaudible 00:38:19]. I’ve got nothing to add to what I’ve just said. I think I’ve gone through that in some detail. And again, I’ll make the point. It’s not happening.

Speaker 10: (38:26)
Premier, can you explain what’s behind the continued restrictions on religious gatherings?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (38:31)
The public health team have got significant concerns about those gatherings, in so far as… If I can take you to… I think I made this once before, but I’ll just make the point again. This is not a licensed premises. It’s not a regulated environment. I think there is some concern, the notion that, what, an authorized officer’s going to, because there’s just because there’s a sense that people aren’t distancing, for instance, an authorized officer is, or a police officer, is not going to get walk into the middle of a mass and say, “Righto, this is all.” Can you imagine if that happened? Imagine the offense that people would take, and it would be quite a thing, I would venture. So it is a unique environment, and it’s not like it’s a pub, where there’s a red line and a green line and there’s a license and there’s responsible service of alcohol and all the other things that go along with that.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (39:24)
So I know there’s been some comparisons and people are upset that, “Well, why can X number of people be outside of the pub, but we can’t be outside to celebrate mass?” They’re two very different things. Two very different things. The good news is though, we are looking at this very carefully, and I hope on Sunday to be able to give to people of faith, what they have been craving and what they’ve missed all this year. But again, it has to be safe. It absolutely has to be safe. So I’m not complaining that people are making the comparison. I’m just trying to make the point that some of the hospitality church comparisons, I don’t think they’re actually fair, they’re not necessarily accurate, but I understand. I understand why people are concerned to get back to temple, get back to the mosques, get back to church, all of those things, it just has to be done in a different way, has to be done in a COVID safe way, and hopefully we can take some further steps.

Speaker 6: (40:16)
Premier, at the church, people would be wearing a mask and it would last for about an hour. At the pub, it would be longer than that and they’d take the mask off to drink. So I suppose-

Premier Daniel Andrews: (40:22)
Are people singing at the pub? I don’t think so. This has been looked at very carefully. It’s not a matter of, “Oh, I’ve made a decision.” This is public health experts, and some international evidence, that does confirm these are different gatherings. And I think common sense just tells you that a heavily regulated environment, a licensed environment, is different to one that isn’t. That’s, I think, pretty plain. The good thing here though is, there were some announcements made on Sunday. If we can go further, and I do think we will be able to, but I think outside is going to still be a significant feature of that. We’ll have more to say on Sunday, and hopefully, people across the state who have that gift of faith will be able to come together in safe numbers and safe circumstances, and celebrate the things that they hold dearest, in a COVID safe way.

Speaker 11: (41:17)
I think you said on Monday, you were going to speak with [inaudible 00:41:23].

Premier Daniel Andrews: (41:23)
I haven’t yet, but I think I will speak with him, certainly before the weekend. I know the deputy premier has had a couple of conversations with him. I’ve had a couple of texts, but we haven’t actually talked.

Speaker 12: (41:32)
Is it a concern, or will you be banning things like sharing cups for communion?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (41:37)
I don’t know whether it went to that, to be honest, I don’t know whether that’s necessarily… You could find wise around all of those things. It’s probably a broader issue than that. But look, we know why, it is for the best of reasons that our faith communities want to get back to something approaching normal. I’m in no way critical of that. It’s just a challenging environment. And I know it seems quite simple, but is a church cleaned to the standard that a restaurant might be? I know there’s lots of arrangements where it’ll be somebody from the parish who, out of the goodness of their heart, will clean the church. That may not even be a paid thing. There’s all sorts of differences, I think, is the point I’m making.

Speaker 7: (42:19)
If one of the issues with singing, would you let church services go ahead without singing, like what they’ve done in the UK?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (42:23)
It’s not a matter of what I’ll let happen or not. It’ll be what is approved under public health advice. And I don’t have advice to go beyond the steps I’ve announced now, but if we can, on Sunday, we will.

Speaker 13: (42:34)
Premier, are you worried that the intense on Professor Soton, sorry, is going to be a distraction from doing his job?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (42:45)
No, I don’t think so. I think, in my experience, he’s somebody who’s very focused on playing his part in getting the numbers down and keeping them down.

Speaker 13: (42:50)
Are you worried about him personally?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (42:53)
No, he’s a strong person, who, I think has shown, as many people have, a steely determination to get the job done,

Speaker 7: (43:00)
Given the board of inquiries had to come back to seek further information and phone records and further statements from a number of people, are you still confident everyone in government is fully cooperating as they should be?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (43:12)
Yes, I am. And I’m sure if the board had a different view, they’d freely put that view. In terms of their reporting, Judge Cote made some comments yesterday. I don’t, just for the purposes of, there’s no doubt, I don’t have a request to extend the timeline. If that was to come forward, then of course we would look at that very closely. And I think the inquiry yesterday, Judge Cote made the point that she can’t say yet whether she may need some more time. We all want this done properly and we all want it done as quickly as possible, but we’re kind of in Judge Cote’s hands when it comes to those things. But just for the purposes of the record, I do not have request.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (43:54)
And if I can, perhaps, cut off all the questions in the coming days, if and when I do, I’ll be more than happy to tell you off the top at one of those.

Andrew: (44:02)
Planning minister, [inaudible 00:44:04] the changes he’s announced today going to work. Say I’ve got an outdoor dining permit for restaurant to rack road, if I want to expand into the car parks onto rack road, can I just do that? How’s it going to work? [crosstalk 00:12:18], council has to approve it?

Hon Richard Wynne: (44:20)
So Andrew, it will be as of right. So if you have an existing permit for outdoor dining, you’ll have to consult with the council as to the scope of what you would like to do, but you will not require a planning permit for that. And we think that’s really important. And it’s not just for metropolitan Melbourne, as I indicated earlier, it’s for the whole of the state of Victoria. So whether you’re in regional Victoria or Jalong, or in fact, metropolitan Melbourne, this is really lifting a significant hurdle, because there’s been an inconsistent application of permits. Some councils have required permits. And in the context of the lengthy delays that people have had to put up with, eg, you’ve got to advertise, the council has to consider it, there’s potentially a VICAT process if people don’t like the application, we’re really smoothing all that out now to ensure that, if you want to increase your dining, you will have no hurdles put in your way. And we think that’s important.

Andrew: (45:28)
Does that mean you just bring up counsel and an administrator will say yes or no?

Hon Richard Wynne: (45:32)
Well, no, no, there’s no need for an an administrator to say yes or no to your application, because you won’t need to make an application. You’ll need to consult with the council about the scope of what you want to do. And obviously it’ll have to comply with the building act.

Andrew: (45:52)
What is the scope… So can you just explain what that means? You obviously can’t put a table and chair, carpark is more on the road. So, [crosstalk 00:45:53]-

Hon Richard Wynne: (45:56)
The City of Melbourne, for instance, one of, indeed, many councils that have got a whole range of propositions, they indicated some of them around maybe using car parks, maybe shutting streets during perhaps lunchtime and at night, using spaces that normally would not be used, eg, open space, where you might be able to put pop-ups up. And I think what’s been really interesting has been the extraordinary commitment, both by local government and the hospitality industry more generally, they’re really talking about very exciting propositions here, and a complete change to the way that outdoor dining will occur in the future.

Andrew: (46:35)
I’m just wondering, say you might be using a wheelchair near the cafe, cafe wants to have table and chairs across the footpath. I can’t now use my wheelchair to get past. Who’s going to say to that cafe, “No.” Is it a phone call with the council? How are those things going to-

Hon Richard Wynne: (46:48)
Well, you’ll be expected to liaise with the local authority around that. What we are looking at is to ensure that you’ve got the right to do so, and then you have to consult with the council about, “Okay, how far do I want to go out? Would we like to, in fact, exclude car parking, for a, say, evenings, where I can then push my offering out into the street?” These are the obvious things that need to be negotiated with the councils going forward.

Speaker 13: (47:19)
So Minister, what if you had two venues and they both want dibs on the same bit of open space. So would that be a conflict resolution process?

Hon Richard Wynne: (47:34)
Well, I don’t expect there’ll be a conflict resolution process. The really interesting thing here is where you’ve had groups of hospitality venues who are, in fact, working in concert together, whether it’s in Chinatown, whether it’s in Flinders Lane, for instance, they are just two examples that have been put to me, of where they want to work in concert to ensure that their offering is consistent.

Andrew: (47:59)
And the council’s the ultimate judge?

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:03)
The ultimate judge-

Speaker 14: (48:03)
Council’s the ultimate judge?

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:03)
The ultimate judge of?

Speaker 14: (48:04)
Where you can put your table and chairs.

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:05)
Yes. Yep.

Speaker 15: (48:06)
So you won’t need a planning permit, but the council-

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:10)
No. It’ll be as of right. If you currently, today, have an existing permit for outdoor dining, it will be as of right.

Speaker 15: (48:17)
But the council can still say no?

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:19)
No, the council can’t say no. That’s the change to the planning scheme that I have made.

Speaker 16: (48:26)
But if I come in and say, “I want to use this car park from 6:00 every night,” the council can say no to that, can’t they?

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:31)
Well, with a bit of negotiation with the car park owner, obviously.

Speaker 16: (48:33)
Say it’s on the street. Say it’s on Toorak Road.

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:34)

Premier Daniel Andrews: (48:34)
But that’s not a council road.

Hon Richard Wynne: (48:37)

Premier Daniel Andrews: (48:38)
Might I add something to what the minister’s saying? Put it to you this way. You don’t have to go through the public process where you’ve got to advertise, there’s X days. This is about expediting it. You can do this. The exact nature of how it’s done, then it’s best if you have a conversation with the council. And to Ralph’s question I think around being as accessible as possible, all of those things have to be factored in but I’m really confident. And as Richard’s brief me in some detail, there are many, many different restaurants and cafes, pubs that have got really innovative ideas. They want to have the best environment. They want to have the most accessible environment. They want things to be safe, and the Building Act applies. You kind go building some structure that isn’t safe.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (49:28)
There are rules about what is in fact considered outside for the purposes of public health. All of those things. But I think we’re going to finish up with, if you look at Bourke Street for instance, Grossi and some of those other restaurants there, the car parking may go and tables and chairs can move into where the cars normally park. You could even see a situation where the trams get running but in certain hours of the day we close off that street and you don’t have cars going up and down there, just as one example. There’s some other, I was talking to a publican on the other night in the inner east. He’s got a park opposite where his pub is. There’s also a restaurant a couple of doors down. They’re already talking to do a deal to help share the cost of making up a portion of that park, not the whole park but a portion of that park basically a beer garden and an extension of the restaurant that’s just a couple of doors down.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (50:18)
So I think people are working really closely together and they’re very keen to make sure that we can make those changes. This is just some red tape that you would’ve had to go through before. And it would’ve meant that you could, off the back of one person saying no, you might’ve waited months to be able to do this. We don’t think that’s the right way to go.

Speaker 16: (50:35)
Minister, I’ve got another one for you if you wouldn’t mind.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (50:37)

Speaker 16: (50:38)
You’re also the housing minister, obviously.

Hon Richard Wynne: (50:40)

Speaker 16: (50:40)
The premier has dropped some not very subtle hints about… Not to single you out, but it’s a little while since we saw someone from what’s now the outer ministry. Are you satisfied with the decision making processes in the government at the moment?

Hon Richard Wynne: (50:51)
Completely satisfied.

Andrew: (50:53)
Just back to James’ question, though, about housing. Is it fair to say these pandemic’s exposed some pretty serious flaws with the current state of public housing in this state?

Hon Richard Wynne: (51:02)
Well, I can report to you… Are you referring particularly to the the towers?

Andrew: (51:06)
Yeah, the towers would be in particular.

Hon Richard Wynne: (51:07)
Okay. Well, I can report to you that in relation to the towers we have now tested, there are about 13,000 people who live in the towers, in the 47 towers that are dotted across metropolitan Melbourne. We have now tested close to 12,000 people, close to 12,000 of the 13,000. And in the last three weeks there has been no infection. So if you think back to the circumstance that we found ourselves in, where the COVID virus was running rampantly through the towers, the decision that government made at the time, and you saw me here and it was very challenging, very challenging for me because this is my community where I grew up and where I live, but I know absolutely that that was 100% the right decision then and it’s the right decision now.

Hon Richard Wynne: (51:59)
And we are COVID-free in all of those 47 towers for the last three weeks. And I really want to give a shout out, absolutely, to the community health sector in particular, cohealth, Star Health, the North Richmond Community Health Center have done an extraordinary job of concierging in the foyers of the towers, reaching up into the towers to make sure that we get as many people tested as possible. To get to nearly 12,000 tests now of the 13,000 people who live in the towers I think is a phenomenal effort.

Andrew: (52:37)
Given the public housing waiting list and the issues the housing construction industry’s likely to face with lower migration and things like that, is there a good case for potentially going further than what you might’ve promised at the election in terms of new dwelling construction?

Hon Richard Wynne: (52:51)
Andrew, I await with anticipation the budget.

Andrew: (52:56)
Is there a good case though, do you think?

Hon Richard Wynne: (53:00)
You’re asking me as the minister for housing, is there a case?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (53:02)
[crosstalk 00:53:02] housing minister if he didn’t believe in it. Believe me, he made his case, Andy. The budget will be delivered on budget day.

Hon Richard Wynne: (53:07)
I think I’ve made my case pretty forcefully. I’ve had a long history in advocacy for public and social housing. I’ve done my best. We’ll see what the budget delivers.

Speaker 14: (53:19)
And when is that?

Hon Richard Wynne: (53:24)
The budget? I’ve no…

Premier Daniel Andrews: (53:24)
That’ll be announced by the treasury.

Speaker 14: (53:26)
Just a quick question on the schedule for the budget. Is the timing of the budget affected by the date you received the hotel quarantine report?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (53:33)
No. I was asked this the other day. I think Rachel asked me whether we planned on dropping the budget the day after or something. No.

Speaker 14: (53:40)
I know [crosstalk 00:53:42] budget implications.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (53:44)
There’s no connection between those two things. And I’ll just go one step further and make it very clear to you. This is a budget that not about a distracting anybody. It’s a budget about repairing damage and making sure that we’re stronger than we’ve ever been. It’ll be about healing, it’ll be about jobs, but not just for their own sake but for what they make possible. It’ll be about skills and confidence and a sense of certainty for the weeks, the months and the years to come.

Speaker 14: (54:12)
[inaudible 00:54:12] was reporting this morning that Vicpol briefed your government last week to plead for restrictions to be eased because we’re were facing public disorder, disharmony. And also the police were unhappy that they had to police grand final barbecues, if that were going to happen. Is that accurate? Are they concerned about public disharmony?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (54:31)
That’s not the feedback that I’ve received at all. Victoria Police, despite it’s been a pretty challenging year for Victoria Police members and also Victoria Police families. But they continue to do very important work and they do it to the highest standard. And I’m very grateful to every member of Victoria Police for the work that they’re doing. And there’ll be more of that work to do because until we get a vaccine there are going to be rules of one sort or another. Hopefully we can announce some further easing on Sunday to come into effect in the days after that. But they’ve been doing a very good job, a very good job. And it hasn’t been easy because there is a minority of people, very small group I think in general terms, that have behaved badly and police have had no choice but to take action against them.

Speaker 17: (55:18)
Premier, the union representing 420 Victorian Centrelink workers that have lost their jobs reportedly says that the federal government isn’t looking out for these workers who have jobs in the midst of pandemic. Mr. Premier, do you have anything to say about what can be done for these?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (55:37)
Well, I don’t want to see anyone lose their job. That’s why we’ll deliver a budget in a few weeks time that will be all about the points I just made, and indeed more. I’m not briefed on what if any entitlements or redundancies or retraining opportunities or other support that those staff might be given. I’m not exactly familiar with the terms and conditions of those. As federal workers they don’t work for us, they work for the commonwealth. But I assume Stuart Robert would probably be the person to talk to about. Minister Robert, I mean.

Speaker 17: (56:14)
Just a question about the numbers. Sorry. There was a positive case at the Royal Children’s Hospital Friday last week, you might remember. Is there any more information as to how that patient contracted the virus?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (56:27)
No. That is I think a case that is a mystery to us still. There’s a lot of work going on to try and determine how it is that patient at the hospital became infected. I would just say, I think this is one that’s been a bit of both. There’s been some negative testing, there’s been some positive testing. I’ll get you an update, but it’s one that is not clear, it’s quite a complex case. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what the result of the most recent tests were, but there were some conflicting results, I think. We obviously want to reassure every single Victorian, as the chief health officer did just a couple days ago, that the children’s hospital is safe. This is one of those cases that is very complex and it’s hard to go any further than that without dealing with privacy issues and things. But if there’s anything more that we can do to update you in that release or tomorrow, say, we’re more than happy to do that.

Andrew: (57:25)
Given the three cases in Shepparton, how likely is it that Shepparton will be able to ease restrictions with the rest of regional Victoria in the coming days, or do you need to wait Shepp to catch up?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (57:38)
The key point in not applying as fast the announcements I made on Sunday for Shepparton. So those changes have applied throughout regional Victoria but not in Shepp. And that was principally so that day 11 testing could be done so we had it absolutely certain that no one in the close contacts or their contacts had tested positive, that there wasn’t a problem there that we didn’t know about. I don’t have the exact date when most of those day 11s are done, but I’m more than happy to try and chase that up for you. The fact there’s not been more even though there’s been significant testing, the overall testing performance there is amazing.

Speaker 18: (58:18)
Given the developments that conflicts with your evidence that you gave at the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry, would you stand aside until that report’s handed down?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (58:24)
I’m sorry, what are you referring to?

Speaker 18: (58:26)
I suppose Jenny Mikakos said that she disagreed with what you had to say with the evidence you gave at the Inquiry.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (58:32)
She’s free to form a view. She’s made several statements to the Inquiry, you can have a look at those. My evidence is not only accurate and truthful, it’s there for everybody to see.

Speaker 18: (58:42)
So Jenny Mikakos has resigned, Chris Eccles has resigned, Brett Sutton has to give a please explain. I suppose it appears that all the key people around you are taking the fall for hotel quarantining, the program.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (58:56)
Is that actually a question or is it more of a statement? That might be your conclusion. That’s not my conclusion. Was there a question?

Speaker 18: (59:06)
Well, you did say the buck stops with me but that appears not to be the case. Do you not agree?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (59:12)
No, I don’t. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that I don’t agree with that. And I’m sure you’ll equally be displeased to learn that I do not run from challenges. I’ve got a job to do and I’m doing it, and nothing will deter me from the work that I have to do. And that’s probably my answer to your questions and comments. Are there any other matters you’d like to discuss? Noah, you had one.

Noah: (59:36)
I did. Have you been talking to Lindsay Fox of late? He’s been out and about this morning as a…

Premier Daniel Andrews: (59:43)
I understand he made some comments this morning. He’s not scripted by me, no. He’s not scripted, actually, I think would probably be the best way to term it. He’s a great Victorian, fantastic Australian. He’s free to make whatever comments he wants. Employs a lot of people, and he’s a good person not because he says nice things about me but because he’s spent a lifetime building something that is very, very important to literally tens of thousands of people.

Speaker 19: (01:00:16)
Premier, what number do we have to get to before these press conferences stop every day?

Premier Daniel Andrews: (01:00:22)
Are you inviting me to stop? Oh, okay. I haven’t said a number. It’s not about numbers as such, other than case numbers.

Speaker 19: (01:00:35)
Give it some thought.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (01:00:37)
And why that?

Speaker 19: (01:00:41)
I just want to know a number.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (01:00:42)
I’m very sorry that you might well be enjoying this as much as I am. I’m sorry about that. There’ll come a time when at the end of one of these I’ll say to you that I won’t see you the following day and the deputy premiere will be here, but that is not today. I’m terribly sorry. We’ll get through what we have to get through, and I think Sunday’s going to be a really important day for our state so we can begin some really important work, that healing that I spoke about.

Premier Daniel Andrews: (01:01:06)
There has been a lot of damage done but there’s also been an incredible spirit shown, an incredible resilience that makes you proud. And for those that have been damaged by this, we will stand with each of you and help you to rebuild. That’s exactly what this task is all about. But you’ve got to get the health problem fixed first, then you can begin the economic repair. But it’s not numbers, it’s about lives and livelihoods and families and certainty and a sense of confidence and hope for the future. That’s what we’ve worked towards and that’s what we will deliver. Are there any other matters? If not, I’ll see you tomorrow.

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