Sep 28, 2020

Dan Andrews Victoria Press Conference Transcript September 27

Dan Andrews Press Conference September 27
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsDan Andrews Victoria Press Conference Transcript September 27

Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews held a September 27 press conference on COVID-19 & quarantine updates. Read the full transcript of his news conference here.

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Dan Andrews: (00:01)
Good morning, everyone. You guys right to go? There are 359 active cases of coronavirus in Victoria as of today, with five new cases since my last report. That is the lowest number since June 12. In terms of reported cases, there were four cases reported that day. All five cases are linked to known outbreaks, and there was one reclassification. There have been, I’m sad to say, 797 Victorians die as a result of the global pandemics, three since my last report, one male in their 60s, one female in their 80s, one male in their 90s. All of those deaths are linked to aged care. And of course we send our condolences and best wishes to those three families.

Dan Andrews: (00:52)
There are 49 Victorians in hospital. Eight are receiving intensive care, and four of those eight are on a ventilator. A total of 2,668,796 test results have been received since the beginning of the year. That is an increase of 6,807 test results since yesterday. That number is within a few hundred of last Monday’s number, which essentially reflects the Saturday testing. I don’t want to necessarily speculate too much, but it wasn’t the greatest day in terms of weather on Saturday. That number still, because of the number of positives that it found, is still a robust number. But I will again take this opportunity to appeal to every single Victorian. If you’ve put off getting a test over the course of this weekend and you’ve got symptoms or you had symptoms, please go and get a test today.

Dan Andrews: (01:48)
As I’ve said a few times now, I don’t think case numbers are going to hold us back from being able to take safe and steady steps toward that COVID normal to continue opening up as we outlined yesterday. But what could be a challenge for us is if we don’t see people coming forward and getting tested and if we start to have doubts about whether we’ve got the most complete picture, that can be a real challenge.

Dan Andrews: (02:11)
Now, of course, Jerome is here today and is going to talk a bit about testing, some of the targeted work we’ve done where there’s been some outbreaks, particularly in the Southeast and the Inner West. And later in the week, not today, but later in the week Jerome will be back to talk about some changes to testing and some really intensive efforts that we’re going to make towards getting the most complete picture. That’s not an invitation though for people who’ve got symptoms not to come forward. That’s about adding to a picture where we have confidence. It’s about taking it to another level, but that’s for later in the week.

Dan Andrews: (02:45)
In the meantime, any symptoms whatsoever, don’t wait a day, don’t wait an hour. Please go and get tested. In many respects, the most valuable commodity at the moment is you getting tested. If you’re positive, we protect and support you. We protect and support your family. And we protect every family. Because you’re there often unknowingly spreading the virus to other people. Please get tested and get tested today if you’ve got any symptoms whatsoever.

Dan Andrews: (03:17)
In terms of cases with unknown source, our mystery cases, 4,274. That is an increase of one since yesterday’s report. There are 60 healthcare workers who are active cases. As we always do, we wish them well, and we thank them and all of their colleagues, many tens of thousands of colleagues, for the amazing work they do every single day.

Dan Andrews: (03:39)
In terms of a regional metro split, there are nine active cases in regional local government areas under the third step restrictions. The rolling 14-day average to 27 September is metro 20.3, regional 0.6 across the state, therefore it’s 20.9. That is a very, very significant set of numbers. We are well ahead of schedule. Again, notwithstanding the fact that there is that time lag that we have to wait and see how the virus presents and what the effect of changes announced yesterday and any other changes we might make are.

Dan Andrews: (04:17)
I know that’s frustrating. With those numbers, people I know would love to move to take even further steps as quickly as possible, but this thing is silent. It moves rapidly, and there is that need, that absolute need, there is simply no choice. You have to wait and see what happens because it is hidden for two weeks, three weeks before you’ll really get a complete picture of what the impact in terms of virus transmission and therefore virus numbers and therefore risk is in real terms. You just can’t know today what the impact of yesterday’s announcements will be at least for two to three weeks time.

Dan Andrews: (04:57)
In terms of aged care active cases, there are 182 that are still active. And active cases in disability facility settings, I’m advised there are four, all of whom are members of staff. Now, there have been, as there always is whenever we make changes, everyone works as hard as they can to put as much information up on the website to provide as much clarity as we possibly can. But whenever you make rule changes, there’ll always be gray areas.

Dan Andrews: (05:26)
Any business who needs further information, further clarification, because I know the absolute overwhelming majority of businesses across the state want to do the right thing. They want to be as COVID-safe as they can be. And it’s very difficult either in a press conference or so sometimes even in a lengthy media release to necessarily go through every single question that might need answering. I would commend to any business who needs any clarification, Business Victoria 132215, 132215. There are extra operators. I can’t guarantee that your call will be answered within a second, but there are extra operators. And if they can’t provide you with an answer on the spot, that is a good place for your query to be logged. And we will work as hard as we can as fast as we can to get the public health team to look at any question that might need answering.

Dan Andrews: (06:24)
This is just the nature of whenever you draw lines or write lists, there will always be people on both sides. There will always be a need for clarification. I understand we have provided some clarification overnight on a number of matters that were raised yesterday. There may be others that need further clarification, and that’s exactly what our officials are there to do. Just before I throw to Jerome to speak about some of the very impressive work and to thank communities that really have risen to the challenge of particularly the outbreak in the outer Southeast, where many, many people have come forward to get tested, and we’re deeply grateful to them.

Dan Andrews: (06:58)
In light of those six or seven households and the fact that we had 40-plus cases in a very short period of time, I just wanted to make a couple of general comments. Today’s numbers are proof positive beyond any doubt that this strategy is working. This is the lowest daily case number for a very long time. And it’s not so long ago that we were reporting not five cases, but 725 cases. So not five cases, 725 cases.

Dan Andrews: (07:27)
We have come a long way. Victorians have given a lot. They have sacrificed a lot, and I am proud and deeply grateful for the work that every single Victorian is doing in partnership with me and a massive team of dedicated workers, dedicated whether they be in hospital settings, public health teams, people providing industry advice and support, as I’ve just indicated. We are so close. We are so close to being able to take a really big step, a big step toward that COVID normal.

Dan Andrews: (08:01)
What’s incredibly important, and I think every Victorian knows this, but I am obliged to make this point. We are so, so close. And what’s important now is that everyone keeps following the rules, keeps doing the right thing, keeps making that profound and critical contribution to these numbers getting low and staying low.

Dan Andrews: (08:28)
We are all capable. Within our own families, if we continue to make smart choices, then we will see this thing off. If however, any of us, and it can be very small numbers, if we start doing things that we know deep down are not the right thing to do, then we can put at risk everything that we’ve built, everything that Victorians have given. I don’t want that to happen, and I’m confident it won’t because I think people can see that this is working, and all of us can see that we are so, so close to defeating this second wave.

Dan Andrews: (09:02)
That’s not to say that on the 18th or 19th of October, we can go back to normal as if it was any October. It’s a COVID normal we have to find, and I’m very confident that we are making very steady and safe progress towards that goal. That gives us a summer that is so, so different to just about all of 2020, and that’s something that we’re all aiming towards.

Dan Andrews: (09:28)
So again, I thank every Victorian for the contribution they are making. These are good numbers, and we are so close to achieving this aim. We’ve just got to see this through. We just have to. We have no choice. As difficult as it is to have to live under these restrictions, albeit with modifications yesterday for another three weeks, if we can do it, and I’m confident we can, we will be able to take big steps in just three weeks time.

Dan Andrews: (09:56)
I’ll now ask Jerome to speak to some of the testing activity, noting that there’ll be further announcements around testing a bit later on in the week. But it’s critically important work, and his team’s doing a fantastic job. But it’s only possible when people come forward and get tested. So yet again, any symptoms, don’t wait a day. Don’t wait an hour. Go and get tested now. There’s arguably nothing more important that you can do. Jerome.

Jerome: (10:21)
All right. Thank you, Premier. Good morning. So over the last two weeks, 164, 000 Victorians came forward to get tested across all of our state, and I’m deeply grateful to them. That’s to say, that’s the equivalent of one in 40 of all of our citizens coming forward to get tested over that two-week period, and there are now over 217 places across the state where you can come forward and get tested.

Jerome: (10:49)
Each one of those tests is gold. Those tests are so important to tell us where the virus is at and how it’s moving around our community and how we get these case numbers down. And for every single test we did in the metro area, for every single positive case we found, 387 tests came back negative. For every positive case we found in regional Victoria over the last two weeks, two and a half thousand tests were negative.

Jerome: (11:12)
And yet we say again, it is so important for us to have anybody with the slightest symptoms to come forward and get tested as early as possible. Do not wait a day. Do not wait to see if it goes into a different direction. If you’ve got a sore throat or runny nose, if you think it’s hay fever, if you think it’s a cold, come forward and get tested. That’s what we’re there to do. So we can beat this thing together.

Jerome: (11:35)
Particularly a focus for regional Victorians, and it’s fantastic that we only have nine cases currently across regional Victoria, but I am concerned about testing levels across outer regional Victoria. I know that we’re all keen to be beyond this, but again I say, please come forward if you have any remote symptoms. To help with that, we have now expanded our wastewater operations. So we now have 23 sampling sites across regional Victoria, where we’re, at least weekly if not twice weekly, testing wastewater to see if there’s any marginal traces of the coronavirus in those trace waters.

Jerome: (12:12)
I’m pleased to say, we’ve now got new sites set up at Mildura, Swan Hill, Wangaratta, Wodonga and Benalla. And we start at Castlemaine this week. So those sites will be an additional way for us to get a sense if there’s anybody moving around the community with any trace of coronavirus, but it’s a belt-and-braces approach. We cannot rely upon this to find the coronavirus, but it’ll help us tell us where in particular we need to look and search more closely.

Jerome: (12:37)
So I say it again to regional Victorians, we’ll do everything we possibly can to find coronavirus across regional Victoria, but please come forward. Do not assume that this is past us. Please come forward to get tested if you have any remote symptoms.

Jerome: (12:50)
Across the metro area, as the Premier said, we’ve been focusing a lot over the last two or three weeks on the outbreak in the outer Southeast. I’m absolutely delighted to say we’ve had over 16,000 people coming forward to get tested around the wider case in Dandenong outbreak. That’s a fantastic result from the community, an over 50% increase in the space of one week in the total number of people coming forward to get tested.

Jerome: (13:12)
And as a result, we’ve been able to get to the grips with that outbreak of 44 cases across eight different households really quickly. It hasn’t spread beyond those households. I’m hugely grateful to the people who’ve been asked to self-isolate for the last couple of weeks while we’ve been doing this work and for everybody who’s come forward to get tested.

Jerome: (13:29)
And it shows that the community response to this is so important. People coming forward early on help us identify where the virus is. People coming forward in support of that ensures we put a wrap around this, we contain it, and it doesn’t spread out much more widely. So it’s a very important part of this battle that we have to fight together.

Jerome: (13:46)
We continue to see a lot of work in Wyndham, Hume and Moreland, Brimbank and Hobsons Bay. Again, we’re seeing more people coming forward to get tested there in the past week. Again, that’s very positive work. We are still seeing some cases in those communities. And again, I particularly encourage people in the North and West, if you have any remote symptoms, please come forward and get tested. We’re very active in your areas, are working very closely with community groups and councils in those areas.

Jerome: (14:10)
And my thanks again to the regional contact tracing teams. My thanks to local councils and my thanks to local community leaders for the really passionate and positive work you’ve done to help us bring people forward.

Jerome: (14:21)
Finally, we have also continued to develop different ways of testing and a very important trial we’ve now concluded with Victoria police using saliva to test for trace of coronavirus. We know that the using of nasal swabs, although it’s a very accurate way of fighting the virus, we continue to look for other ways of testing which may be quicker, which may be easier, particularly in workplaces and in complex settings.

Jerome: (14:44)
We have now tested over 1,000 police staff across Bendigo, Spencer Street Station and Dandenong Police Station as a part of a rapid surveillance to see whether there was any level of the virus still affecting those areas. As a result of that saliva trial, we found one positive case at Dandenong Police Station. That test has been confirmed. We have undertaken the full close contact tracing and isolation of those individuals.

Jerome: (15:07)
So it shows again the importance of ongoing development of testing, and we will have more to say during the course of the week, as the premier said, on how we continue to evolve and adapt our approach. But for now, again, I’d like to reiterate, we have seen a fantastic response from the Victorian community. We’ve seen a fantastic response to come forward and to get tested.

Jerome: (15:25)
I’d ask you again, in order for us to sustain these numbers down, in order to be confident that we’re beating this thing, we need to sustain our high testing levels. We need to ensure that at least one in 40 Victorians comes forward to get tested, and we carry on in that vein. [inaudible 00:15:38].

Dan Andrews: (15:42)
Happy to take any questions you have.

Speaker 1: (15:45)
The Dandenong Police Station employees, I’m told they were tested last Thursday and none have had their results back yet. Is that the case? And if so, why the delay?

Dan Andrews: (15:54)
I wouldn’t think so. No, that’s not accurate. The turnaround time is upwards of 90% within 24 hours. So I’m happy to follow that up for you, but I don’t believe that’s accurate.

Speaker 2: (16:07)
What’s the biggest impediment for contact sourcing the unknown cases?

Dan Andrews: (16:10)

Speaker 2: (16:11)
What’s the biggest impediment for contact sourcing the unknown cases? Is it people that are not divulging their movements or what are the challenges?

Dan Andrews: (16:19)
Look, I think that there are always challenges when, despite your best efforts. And I think the overwhelming majority of people are frank and honest, and we’ve had a bit of a discussion about, I think, some obvious things. If you were to change your settings, you would probably not see that frankness and honesty. We’ve had a big talk about fines and things of that nature. As good as that might make us all feel, I don’t think necessarily people would be as forthcoming either about their own movements or the movements of others.

Dan Andrews: (16:45)
Look, I think that in some respects, when you just pause for a moment to think, you can have this and not know. So people will spend time with other people. They may be doing so lawfully. It may not be clear that they had the virus at all.

Dan Andrews: (17:03)
It might not be clear that they had the virus at all. Some people some time later may never have developed symptoms. They don’t potentially get to get tested. So you can all of a sudden see that that’s a really big challenge here. The notion of that not being obvious to you to prompt you to go and get tested can mean you give it to others, and then piecing all those things together gets very, very difficult. And whilst we’re shut down at the moment, there are still many people that are going to work, that are allowed to go to work. There is that sort of essential movement to go and buy things, to go and buy the basics that you need. It’s not accurate to say we’re all only with the four or five people that we live with, our immediate family or the one or two depending on your circumstances.

Dan Andrews: (17:47)
There is still some movement, and it’s so wildly infectious that despite your best efforts, being lawful, being frank, being honest, we’re still saying, albeit smaller numbers of people that are getting it, and we just can’t figure out how. Now, as the numbers get smaller and smaller you’re able to do not just that downstream contact tracing but you’re able to test and trace backwards if you like about where the chain might’ve started, and that of course takes someone off the mystery case list and then we know. But it’s incredibly complex. It’s as complex as all the different choices, all the different actions that every single individual takes every day. And the fact that it’s silent and the fact that you might never have gone and got tested, so the fact that you had it might not be known to you, let alone the fact that you’ve given it to someone else. So I think that’s probably the most significant part of it

Laurel: (18:45)
Do you have enough people working on it now?

Dan Andrews: (18:46)
Oh yes, there’s a very significant team, a very significant team. And for instance, to pull up that outbreak in Hallam at 44 cases and to wrap around those families as quickly as we did is a testament to the team that we’re working on that both out of Monash Health, public health centrally, the local council, a number of other community leaders, that’s proof positive that the system is working well. Now I’ll never say, ever, that it can’t further be improved. Every minute of every day you’re looking for ways in which you can do even better, but it’s in a strong position. And it’s not like it’s just Hallam. The Colac outbreak, one or two people finished up being mid 20s, I think from memory, to pull that up as quick as we did. Testament to the local community, testament to Barwan Health who were leading a lot of that contact tracing, public health team centrally, but ultimately it’s really a testament to people living in those communities.

Dan Andrews: (19:38)
To think, 16,000 people in that Casey, greater Dandenong area, I think that’s about double what we were getting. So people really have come forward to do the right thing. People want this to be over and they know that if cases go undetected, then it just spreads like wildfire. You just finish up with hundreds of people off the inaction of a very small number of people, and that’s what every day we stand here. And we must’ve said it thousands of times now, any symptoms at all get, tested and get tested today,

Speaker 3: (20:13)
Is the strategy with testing overall still you’re looking for symptoms, or have you had to look into asymptomatic testing to try and get that testing rate up?

Dan Andrews: (20:24)
This is no change at this stage, but we’ll have a bit more later in the week, we’ll have a bit more to say about broadening out the profile, broadening out the people that we test. It’s not, Simon, now a situation where I think we’ll just be asking people in the street with no symptoms at all, we’ll always be focused on risk. I think that geography might play a part in this, so where we know the virus has seeded and where the largest number of cases have come from. Higher risk industries where that’s not necessarily to say that that the virus is there, but we know if it was it’ll spread rapidly. So meat works, distribution centers, cool stores, age care of course, health. We’re just putting the final touches on some significant decisions that’ll mean we test more, we’ll have more results, and that serves a number of different purposes. The primary purpose, but also to reassure ourselves and all Victorians that we’re doing everything we can to make sure it’s, say, not in age care, that that type of work. It’s not quite finalized, will be soon, and then we’ll take you through the details.

Speaker 3: (21:29)
You’re obviously working on it. Are you looking at still the testing being a voluntary thing where you’re not necessarily looking at compelling people to get tested in a certain workplace, or you’ve mentioned meat works?

Dan Andrews: (21:41)
No, I can’t rule out that we make participating in what would be broadly surveillance testing in higher risk environments a feature of some of the decisions we made yesterday to allow those industries to get close to 100%. We continue to speak with people about that. That’s why the Victoria Police saliva test trial’s really important, and that’s about trying to validate the accuracy. It’s accurate, but is it as accurate or can it be a proxy for how much virus is there? Do you get to a threshold point? I think we’re confident now that there’s probably further work to be done but we’re confident we do many more of those tests. That makes it much, much easier I think in some of those workplace settings, rather than the swab process, which is not suitable for everybody.

Speaker 3: (22:35)
One more followup, have you got the powers to be able to compel someone to get tested?

Dan Andrews: (22:35)
I don’t think it’s going to get to that. What I’m saying to you is, we will strongly encourage, and I’ll have more to say about this later in the week, we will strongly encourage people working in… Maybe not everybody, but a portion of the workforce, for instance, working in a particular setting to be part of the testing program, and that serves two purposes. Well three, really. One, you find virus if it’s there. Two, you validate that the virus isn’t. And thirdly, so you can support people and have them isolated if they’ve got it. Secondly, it can validate for you that it isn’t there, because we now if it is it’ll spread wildly. And then thirdly, that’s also an opportunity for us to be there assisting those businesses in those settings to be as COVID safe as possible, so to be compliant with all the other rules around staff movement, cohorting, lunch rooms, PPE compliance, the list goes on and on. So there’s multiple benefits. And if we’d finalized it I’d announce it today. We’re just very close, but we’ve just got a little bit more work to do on it.

Rachel: (23:36)
Premier, yesterday’s chart-

Speaker 4: (23:37)
Sorry, just to go on that.

Rachel: (23:37)
Go for it.

Dan Andrews: (23:40)

Speaker 4: (23:40)
Which work places are you looking at specifically?

Dan Andrews: (23:42)
I think we all understand what the high workplaces have been over this journey. I can’t say that it’ll only be them. There may be some other workplaces that we think where there are some significant benefits, so higher traffic workplaces, for instance. We’ve got a lot of testing capacity and we want to make sure we use that as best we can to find positive cases, to validate that the numbers we’re getting through people coming forward with symptoms are an accurate measure of how much virus is out there, and then there’s also this other, I think a really important cultural thing in many respects, whilst you’re out there doing some of that testing, you’re also checking COVID safe plans and all of those things. So I will have more to say about that, but it will be broadly inline with the industries that we now know for the purposes of COVID are very, very high risk.

Dan Andrews: (24:34)
And that should be read in two ways. Higher risk in terms of it runs wildly through those industries because of the way they work, proximity, temperature, all of those things. But also risk in some of those higher risk settings is about the vulnerability of the people who are involved, so hospitals, age care. We’ll have more to say about that quite soon, but it will broadly be in line with what I think we all now understand to be very high COVID risk workplaces. I would just say this, though. There’s no sense of criticism in this. I think that those high risk settings as we’re here today are more COVID safe than they’ve ever been, and I’m very grateful to them for the work that they’ve done. And I’m very grateful for the fact they’re working with us on some of these issues also.

Speaker 4: (25:17)
Just briefly on the numbers, sorry. Jerome said that we need to stay at one in 40 Victorians getting tested. That would put the numbers at around 11,700 tests a day, so is that now the benchmarks of what you need to achieve?

Dan Andrews: (25:32)

Speaker 4: (25:32)
Or else we may not have further restrictions I eased?

Dan Andrews: (25:35)
No, I don’t think it’s quite as cut and dry as that. We’ve always resisted putting an absolute number on it because I don’t think it works that way. It’s not quite as precise as that. It’s always difficult to have a sense of how many symptomatic people are out there given the mildness of those symptoms, given the fact that flu and cold symptoms, they’re not really here. It’s a very, very… And we’re coming into the warmer months anyway. So I wouldn’t draw a conclusion from that. What I’d say is that it’s also a function of how many positives you find. So if you were doing 6,800 tests and we found 50 cases today or 100, then you’d say, “I think we’ve got a problem here. The number of positives as a percentage of the test taken is way too high. There’s something else going on out there.”

Dan Andrews: (26:26)
That’s not what we’re finding. So I think if memory serves me correctly, and there’ll be more than a few here that can correct me if I’m not right, I think we had seven cases last Monday if that’s right, and it was just about 300, maybe 350 more tests than what I’ve reported today, roughly. So today’s five. We’re still confident that it’s a good proxy for how much virus is out there, but some of the things we’ll talk about later in the week will by their very nature get those total tests up, and we think that’s a good thing. I do stress, though, that’s not an invitation to anyone who’s got symptoms to not come forward. “Are they doing random testing? I don’t need to get tested?” Absolutely not.

Dan Andrews: (27:08)
As Jerome said, it is gold if you’ve got this and we can find you because you come forward and get tested. We can support you, we can support your family, and we can assist you in not spreading this to anybody else. And that’s how that ref number keeps falling so that everyone who’s got it is not giving it to another person. Only some of them are giving it to another person, and then ultimately you have and have again and have again. That’s why we’re seeing these numbers come down, because people who’ve got it aren’t giving it to others. And that’s because of contact tracing, getting tested when you’ve got symptoms, being at home and not moving throughout the community, all the things that we know.

Speaker 5: (27:49)
The former health minister’s just Tweeted that we’re well on the way to eradication. Is that now the strategy?

Dan Andrews: (27:54)
No, it’s not. I’ve answered this question many, many times. That is not the strategy. The strategy is to suppress this virus, and that’s the National Cabinet decision.

Speaker 5: (28:04)
Some schools, the Murdoch Institute has recommended a traffic light system to help get schools open. Is that something the government will adopt?

Dan Andrews: (28:11)
Look, I think we’re still… We made some announcements yesterday obviously about primary schools, and what that Murdoch Children’s Research Institute work points to is you can have a different treatment and you can be safe in doing that, in separating smaller kids, younger kids away from those who are in the process of becoming adults. And that makes sense in many respects, that they’re in a different place as it relates to the infectivity and the transmission. And some of those numbers I think Alan went to yesterday about the sheer difference between when it’s a student that brings it into the school versus an adult that brings it into the school.

Dan Andrews: (28:50)
If we’ve got to make further announcements and some refinements, we do have time, that’s the thing. So the 12th is important. I know that’s week two of term four, but it gives schools a little bit more time just to get everything right, to be confident. I would make the point as well that our outbreak management of schools has for some time now been very successful because it has in embedded within that outbreak management team are people from the Department of Education, similarly in relation to some of the other higher risk sites. So yeah, I’m confident that we can get the primary schools open and we can keep them open. But the final details of that, there’s two points. We’ll leave some of these matters to schools because they know their local environment best. And we’ve also got some time, so I can’t rule out some further announcements.

Rachel: (29:43)
Premier, yesterday’s Victorian press release attributed five of yesterday’s six 16 cases to a complex case, but there was no detail about whether that was a workplace or an age care facility or what it was.

Dan Andrews: (29:57)
I’m afraid I can’t help you, but I’ll try… Not now, but I can try and get the information for you.

Rachel: (30:02)
Yeah. I guess the question is, when we’re less than three weeks away from hopefully abandoning stay at home restrictions, is it really good enough that we’re not getting that level of data?

Dan Andrews: (30:13)
I’m not sure why that would not be included. Let me make some inquiries on your behalf, and if there’s something we can add to today’s chat release. It may be, there’s always the privacy issues when you particularly get down to these very low numbers, but I think in terms of the categorization as you say, was it a workplace? Was it a family? Was it age care? Hospital? Those sorts of things, we should be able to provide you with some clarity on that.

Rachel: (30:36)
And what’s the difference just between a cluster and a complex case? Cause often the [inaudible 00:30:43] release says it’s listed to a cluster or a complex case, but there’s no real explanation of what-

Dan Andrews: (30:47)
A cluster, we’ll know more about a cluster and we’ll have a sense that that’s contained. We know the cases, the contacts, and we’ve isolated them. Complex cases, as the name suggests, there’ll be some greater level of detail so it could involve, I assume, again if I need to add to this I’ll get them to do it, could involve a mystery case somewhere in that chain of transmission, could involve close contexts, not all of which have been listed, not all of which have been landed, if you like. One I think probably goes a bit more to the how active things are. So the Hallam ones, they grew but then there was a ring around them and I think they would’ve been described as a cluster rather than a complex case. But if any of my understanding and logic that I’ve brought to that issue is not accurate, I will be more than happy to have that data out for you. Sorry, Laurel.

Laurel: (31:41)
just on the phones you announced yesterday and you alluded to it before, that challenge between balancing up not wanting to put people off from coming forward to get testing because they feel like they might face a fine. How then do you balance the $5,000 and wanting to make sure that people aren’t going out in big groups with not punishing people for coming forward? Therefore, if someone has COVID and is found in one of those big groups, are they likely to be fined?

Dan Andrews: (32:08)
Their positive diagnosis and their story about who they’ve been in contact with is worth infinitely more than $5,000. That’s always been the view. And I know that seems counterintuitive to people and we perhaps would all feel better if people who were doing the wrong thing got fined, we’d perhaps have a moment we’d be slightly satisfied about that. The key point here though is… And there’s been some pretty, not from you guys, but there’s been some pretty cheap commentary around this. People will just not tell this story, they just won’t. And I don’t think there’s another jurisdiction, not one that I’m aware of anyway, that does that. And even if you were prepared. Laurel, even if you were prepared to pay the fine for what you’d done, surely you’d be reticent to be essentially dubbing in heaps of other people by telling a full and frank story. That’s not the way you get the real treasure, and that’s, who’ve you been with? When were you with them? Who have they been with?

Dan Andrews: (33:07)
That’s how you stop something that starts with two or three people, it gets to 40. That approach is how you stop it at 40, not 400. So that’s the logic to it. Beyond that, though, one sure way that you can not be contributing to the spread of the virus is to follow the rules. And if you are not out of your home, down at Coles at Springvale Junction milling with 40 other people or in a Macca’s car park in the deep outer suburbs at midnight, or at your mate’s place having dinner. If you weren’t doing that, then you would not be contributing to the spread of the virus. And it’s not just people who’ve got it, it’s all the people gathering together who someone who’s got it will give it to. That’s the whole nature. So if people stayed home and don’t do…

Dan Andrews: (34:03)
Sure. So if people stay at home and don’t do those things that are unlawful, then we have much greater chance of getting to the other side of this, and getting there faster. Does that make sense?

Speaker 6: (34:13)
It does.

Dan Andrews: (34:13)

Speaker 6: (34:13)
It’s a slightly bizarre situation [crosstalk 00:34:15].

Dan Andrews: (34:15)
Well it is, a bit, and that’s the nature of this.

Speaker 6: (34:18)
And the one person with COVID is the person who doesn’t get fined, [crosstalk 00:34:20].

Dan Andrews: (34:20)
Well, ultimately there can really be no other way. And I know there’s a lot of things that are counterintuitive in this. There’s a lot of things that are unique, that are unprecedented. We genuinely talk about this as a one in 100 year event, because there’s about a thousand reasons why that’s the case. And one of them would be that for some people, penalizing them and then them not telling us the story, which is what we really need, what we have to have, or even worse than that, people not getting tested because they felt that if they got tested and they were positive, they might find there is some sense of shame or stigma or a penalty.

Dan Andrews: (34:58)
The most valuable commodity at the moment is anyone with any symptoms coming forward, getting tested. That allows us to protect them, their family, and every family. That’s the fact of this. And we’ve got to keep these testing rates up. And we’re not going to make any decisions that would make it less likely that people gave us the full and complete story. Where have you been, who have you been with? If, for instance, we didn’t have that information from those families in [Helm 00:00:35:30], if we hadn’t had got that information, well, that’s not 44 cases. That is, it’s a way, and the Southeast looks very much like the North and the West looked maybe just in terms of numbers, I mean, five, six weeks ago. And there’s no COVID normal Christmas, no way. We’re nowhere near that.

Dan Andrews: (35:51)
So that’s what’s at play here. And I know it doesn’t sit right for some, and even against logic, some of it doesn’t sit right. But it’s the only way you can go.

Speaker 6: (36:00)
Is there great confidence that the Boxing Day test will go ahead? And I think there was [preliminary 00:36:05] in front of a crowd, I mean, and I think there was preliminary suggestions that there are about 25,000 crowds, could that possibly be more [crosstalk 00:02:12]?

Dan Andrews: (36:11)
Well, I think 25,000 has come as a function of one person per four square meters. It is an outdoor environment, though even though part of it is covered. But it would, apart from some function rooms and things, the G as a total precinct would be considered, I think largely as an outdoor venue. It’s too early for us to put a number on how big the crowd might be. What I can say, though, is if we all stay the course and we continue to see those numbers down, then that becomes much more possible to have a crowd of some size.

Dan Andrews: (36:43)
There’s some challenges there for all of us. And we’re working very closely, major event by major event, whether it’s the Boxing Day test, [inaudible 00:36:50] in tennis, there’s all manner of different events that we have to work through when we are. And Martin Pakula is leading that work. And I’ve had many, many discussions with him in recent weeks about how we can deal with that. And I think all the different codes and different leagues and operators and tournament officials and all the different people that are involved in that, isn’t simple. It’s quite challenging work.

Lundy: (37:15)
You’ve made your position on masks pretty clear over the past few weeks. So I’m just wondering what you make of Bill Tilley, the member for the neighbors who’s calling for masks to be scrapped for regional Victorians in situations when they’re doing activities where they can easily socially distance like hiking or fishing, that type of thing.

Dan Andrews: (37:31)
Look, I’m not here to comment on his comments. I’m here to follow health advice, and I’ve gone a bit further than that. I’ve been clear that in my judgment, significant benefit, very low cost. I know they’re not pleasant to wear, particularly if you’re like [Lundy 00:00:37:47], if you’re like you and I, and you wear glasses, it’s challenging. But that’s nothing [inaudible 00:37:52] like, really? Are we going to… Compared to everyone being locked in their homes and people needing machines to breathe? Or I can deal with some foggy glasses. I reckon you can too. And I think that Bill needs to just have a look at the broadest context, and it is significant benefit, low cost.

Rachel: (38:13)
Someone by themselves in regional Victoria going for a walk, and there’s no one else in the same square kilometer of them. It’s a bit silly for them to have to wear a mask though, isn’t it?

Dan Andrews: (38:23)
But what’s the issue, Rachel? Seriously, what’s the issue? Why is it such a massive issue because they have to wear a-

Rachel: (38:30)
The fact that it serves no health purpose if they’re not near another human being.

Dan Andrews: (38:34)
Well, that’s an esoteric debate, really, isn’t it? That’s not really like… Maybe there’ll be a time when we have the luxury of having those sorts of debates. You wear a mask because it’s of some benefit. How much benefit, it’s always difficult to, as I’ve said this many times to break down all the things we’ve done and have an absolute percentage benefit that’s attributed to each one. I think they play a really important part. There’ll come a time when they’re not needed. And when that time comes, then people won’t have to wear them. But far from easing this, if I can tell you, the public health team are very motivated to make sure that the shields without a face covering and a fitted face covering and mask are not enough. So we’ve given people a couple of weeks to transition away from those.

Dan Andrews: (39:21)
And I thank them for doing their best, but the evidence is they don’t have the same impact. And whilst it would be preferable, if everybody wore at least a two ply mask that was fitted, anything’s better than nothing. But the face coverings need to be fitted as well. And look, in general terms, I’m very proud of Victorians, in particularly Melburnians because they got to this place earlier. People have said, look, this is inconvenient, but it’s something I can do. And it’s something I should do. And if it gets me out, if it gets me able to move around and get back to work faster than it otherwise would, it’s the right thing to do.

Lundy: (40:03)
If you just wouldn’t mind on that, you mentioned that the public health team had some evidence on the shield. So apart from the obvious fact that there’s no gap between at the bottom of them, like, did they [crosstalk 00:40:15].

Dan Andrews: (40:14)
I probably should have said, they have analyzed, I think rather than the notion of pointing to a specific study, they may be able to do that. I’m not aware of that. But they’ve made a judgment, just as we do. So again, if there’s a need to clarify this, I’ll get someone from the public health team to speak with this on, but we don’t have a situation where say in hospitals, people would be wearing shields, particularly as it relates into this wildly infectious virus without wearing a mask as well. It’s both. So it needs to be both. Logic just tells you, it needs to be both when people are out and about. So it’s nothing more or less than that. And it’s not a criticism of people who’ve been doing that. I’m very grateful that they’ve taken that step. We’re now just refining that advice. Not a decision made by me, but the medical experts, those who know a bit about infection control have made it clear that that’s not doing what we want. That’s not serving the purpose that we’re all signed up to. And that is to make sure that none of us are doing anything to spread this virus.

Lundy: (41:14)
What do you saying to people though that go, you’re tightening the rules around mask and face coverings when the numbers are coming down, and the case numbers?

Dan Andrews: (41:22)
That’s when they’re coming to their [inaudible 00:41:22] in many ways. Because that gets us closer to us getting open, moving about, coming into contact with more people. People are free to have their views, Lundy, but that’s not the number one issue, frankly. The issue that’s raised there, there are many more important issues than that. And I know it’s not necessarily pleasant, but in terms of the benefit and the aggregate benefit, that is the strategy works, it’s worth it. It’s absolutely worth it. And I think every Victorian who is wearing a mask, and that is the overwhelming majority.

Rachel: (41:54)
Just on the 5K rule, essentially the further people get from the center of the city, the more punishing that is because they don’t have as many shops or parks or amenities within their 5K radius. How much did that reality factor into your decision making in deciding to keep it?

Dan Andrews: (42:11)
All of those factors are really important factors. And if I could have announced yesterday in a safe way, without compromising the overall objective, that the 5Ks was off, I would have done that. That’s just not an option that the modeling and our experts tell us is, it’s just not a wise thing to do now. Now in three weeks’ time, we’ll have to wait and see. We’ll have to wait and see. I’m not making that announcement, but obviously the same process we’ve gone through this time will be the process we go through then. And I can certainly confirm that what’s what’s in prospect in three weeks, if those numbers continue to fall and testing rates remain at a robust level and all the other things being equal, is that the reasons to leave, they can go and we can move to a much freer movement. And how far you can go, I’m not quite sure where we’re going to land on that, but we’ll get the least restrictive set of arrangements that don’t compromise safety, or don’t run the high risk of us going backwards just a short time thereafter.

Lundy: (43:24)
Appreciate it.

Simon: (43:25)
[inaudible 00:43:25] that no one specifically from the public health teams here or the [CHAR 00:43:28] is not here, but-

Dan Andrews: (43:30)
I’ll simply pass on all these matters to them that need to be clarified. So far away, Simon.

Simon: (43:34)
Are you briefed though, just on today’s cases, the low number? Of which, how many of them are linked to any aged care facilities? Do you know?

Dan Andrews: (43:46)
Five are linked to known outbreaks, so I think it will be very highly likely that some of those five outbreaks or some of the outbreaks to which they are linked will be in aged care. But the CHAR release will be able to provide you with further information.

Simon: (43:59)
Have you been briefed on how any outbreaks are currently going in aged care, given we’re about eight to 10 cycles into this virus. And obviously at the heart of it all there were a lot of aged care facilities in outbreak. Where’s the immediate focus right now in aged care facilities for the government?

Dan Andrews: (44:22)
Sure. The total number of cases associated with aged care facility outbreaks since January 1 is 4,752, of which 182 are still active. The total number of aged care outbreaks since 1 January this year is 174, of which 55 are still active. Noting, one case in an aged care facility is an outbreak. Just so we’re all clear on that. The term indicates that it’s run through the whole place. That’s not, given the vulnerability, the rule has always been one positive, it is an outbreak.

Dan Andrews: (44:58)
I don’t have any further information for you, but I think the CHAR release will confirm for you of the five, how many are linked to aged care, and I’ll follow up Rachel’s question before in relation to both complexity and clusters. And if we can look backwards to yesterday and provide you with a sense of where those cases had the outbreaks from yesterday, where they’ve come from, at least by class of premises, I would’ve thought, we should be able to do that.

Speaker 7: (45:26)
[inaudible 00:45:26] 16th of September. And she said that [inaudible 00:45:32] responsible tools on the quarantine program. Why then, did you after that continue to tell us that you had confidence in the minister?

Dan Andrews: (45:43)
Because I did. Well, the issue-

Speaker 7: (45:47)
[crosstalk 00:45:47] the statements and the resignation, which you said was appropriate [crosstalk 00:45:50].

Dan Andrews: (45:50)
Well, I can be very clear with you that I have not read her statement. I had not read her statement. But I didn’t think it was appropriate.

Speaker 7: (46:00)
Your statement made it clear that you believed that she was accountable for hotel quarantine.

Dan Andrews: (46:06)

Speaker 7: (46:06)
But you still believed that it was appropriate for her to remain as health minister [crosstalk 00:46:10].

Dan Andrews: (46:09)
I had confidence in her. Let’s be very clear about this, though. And I have gone to those Madisons someday [inaudible 00:00:46:16], and I don’t particularly want to be laboring the point, but the minister made a decision that she could not sit in the cabinet. And any minister who comes to that conclusion has no choice but to tender their resignation. And that is what has happened. That’s a matter for her. She’s made that judgment. And in no way that’s identical to what I said yesterday on the day before. So I’m not adding anything. I’m just trying to give you for completeness’ sake the answer to the question.

Dan Andrews: (46:50)
Yesterday, I made some comments and I’ll make them again. Jenny was a very hard-working member of the team. I wish her well, and I don’t propose to be trawling over this every day or three times a week or ever again. I don’t think it necessarily serves any purpose. The other point that I will make is that closing submissions are being made today. The inquiry will then go off and do its important work. It will make findings. I don’t know what those findings will say, but we all just have to wait and see.

Tom: (47:21)
Will you release those findings on the day that you’re handed them?

Dan Andrews: (47:27)
I expect so. I expect so.

Tom: (47:27)
So they’ll be made public when they’re handed to the governor or the inquiry.

Dan Andrews: (47:34)
I would think so. Yes.

Tom: (47:36)
I understand the government has up to a week to make public. So [crosstalk 00:47:39]

Dan Andrews: (47:39)
Yeah, look, I’m not sure. To be honest, Tom, I haven’t turned my mind to it. We might want to look at them for a short period of time and then have a response and announce it all together. Given the public interest in this matter, I think you’ll find that our response to this will be quick.

Speaker 8: (47:57)
[crosstalk 00:00:47:57].

Dan Andrews: (48:00)
I can’t be certain. There’s a request that’s been made for additional funding and I’ve granted that request. I don’t think there’s any alternative but to do that. As I’ve said all along, it’s an important process. Was established not for the avoidance of answers, but to get them and all resources, all powers, all people to appropriately cooperate. I attended last Friday to assist the board in the work that it’s doing. They need more funding. The funding’s been granted, as I understand it.

Speaker 8: (48:29)
And how much is it?

Dan Andrews: (48:31)
I think it’s just under 3 million.

Speaker 8: (48:34)
So it’s [crosstalk 00:48:35] be doubled [inaudible 00:48:35]

Dan Andrews: (48:35)
Because that’s what the commissioners, that’s what, sorry. That’s what the board has asked for. And if they were to ask for further money, then we would provide that. You can’t have a process that’s independent charged with such significant work and not appropriately resource it, particularly when they make the request. They make a judgment that they need more, then that’s what the answer will be.

Speaker 9: (48:56)
Do you plan to ramp up use of the COVID site app? And given that the state stopped accessing data from the [inaudible 00:49:03], how quickly is it [crosstalk 00:49:03]?

Dan Andrews: (49:04)
Well, for a very short time, I think we might’ve done that. But we’ve not received very much data that has assisted us in the work that we’ve done. But I’ve downloaded it, Kath’s downloaded it. I hope you’ve all downloaded it. And I’d commend every Victorian to do that. And much like sewage testing, in fact, identically really, it’ll come into its own when the community is out moving around more because you’ll be spending time with people that you don’t know. And I’m not sure whether it was of any use in the Crossroads Hotel issue up in Sydney. But that’s an example of when we go back to larger groups of people spending time with each other, not your family, then if you and I were at a restaurant or wherever it might be, or on a tram together or whatever it might be for 15 minutes, and were essentially face-to-face without actually talking to each other or knowing each other, if we both had the app and one of us finished up testing positive, then we’d all be well served by that. So I’d still encourage people, sign up to it.

Lundy: (50:21)
Restrictions have eased on meat processing.

Dan Andrews: (50:23)

Lundy: (50:25)
But industry leaders are still concerned the impact on the supply chain will disrupt suppliers leading up to Christmas. Is there a timeframe on when you’ll be able to get back up to 100% [crosstalk 00:16:35]?

Dan Andrews: (50:35)
We’ve gone as far as we can at this point. I don’t rule out us going further. And I know there are some challenges with Christmas being the biggest, busiest time of the year, together with other matters that we’ve talked about probably in more fulsome terms than any premier’s ever talked about this industry. We’ve got lambs at the moment on the ground. We’ve got carving, you’ve got some seasonal factors that are-

Dan Andrews: (51:03)
… having, you got some seasonal factors that are at play. So it’s a difficult balance, but I want to thank that industry for the work they’ve done with us. I want to thank the supermarkets as well, which for the purposes of at least one of our big supermarket chains, they run their own in-house meat processing center. They’d love to be at 100%. But as of the point, many times, both here and also privately too, many of these CEOs, your production levels won’t be too high, if you finish up with an outbreak. Because the whole place will be shut. There’ll be like 0% of output that day and days after, as the whole place gets deep cleaned. So it’s just that difficult balance. If we could have gone further, we would have. And in some settings, we’ve been able to take it to 100. And in others, we’re still a bit under that. But I think that they’re all working very hard to make sure that everything we need, not necessarily everything we want, but everything we need, well and truly, is on the shelves come Christmas time.

Speaker 10: (51:56)
Premier, this is back on the hotel quarantine scheme questions. So you said that you held Jenny Mikakos accountable. This is for a scheme, which sparked the second wave, which has killed more than 750 people. That’s a pretty low standard to still have confidence in a minister. Isn’t it?

Dan Andrews: (52:12)
Again, you can draw whichever conclusions you see fit to draw. I’m not going to offer a commentary on this any longer. The minister’s resigned. I gave evidence in full frank, honest terms. I provided a statement in exactly the same terms. You put some matters to me yesterday, which I don’t think were a fair reflection of what I had said, which I pointed out. And I’m not interested in-

Speaker 10: (52:34)
I’m not asking that. I’m asking about confidence in your minster.

Dan Andrews: (52:34)
Yeah, and you’re asking me to offer a whole range of opinions, and I’ll leave it to you to run those commentaries. That’s entirely part of your job. I’m much more focused on other matters. One of those matters on focused on…

Speaker 10: (52:46)
What’s the redeeming [inaudible 00:52:47] as to why you still had confidence in the Health Minister?

Dan Andrews: (52:50)
As I’ve just indicated to Laurel, I don’t think it serves any useful purpose for me to look back and to be writing that sort of personal commentary on someone who has resigned, on someone who I am prepared to say in very clear terms, is someone who, in my judgment, has always worked as hard as she possibly could to do the best job she possibly could. And I just don’t think there’s anything served by me going any further than that.

Speaker 10: (53:11)
Have you spoken to Jenny Mikasos yet?

Dan Andrews: (53:13)
No, I have not.

Speaker 10: (53:13)
If you had such confidence in someone who served more than 20 years in Parliament, how come that has a warranted a phone call?

Dan Andrews: (53:19)
Well, again, I’ve got a lot of things to do. She’s focused on the next chapter of her life. I’ll speak to her at some point, I’m sure. But if you want to spend parts of this press conference each day asking me whether I’ve called her or not, that’s a matter for you, entirely.

Laurel: (53:39)
Premier, [inaudible 00:53:39] for that tax reform. I know that you have spoken about the need longer term for, on the other side of this.

Dan Andrews: (53:45)
All right.

Laurel: (53:47)
And I’ve been asked by [inaudible 00:53:47] to ask this question. They’re just wondering if you would consider giving up payroll tax, in return for something like an increase in the GST.

Dan Andrews: (53:58)
I wonder who in Canberra has asked you, to ask this question, Laurel. That’s very interesting. I have had no conversations to that end with anybody in the federal government. My views on the GST are well known. The problem with… And I’m not being critical and I’m speaking in broad terms. The tax reform and just jacking up taxes are two very different things. And it’s very easy for people in Canberra. Again, I’m being broad. It’s very easy for people in Canberra just to sort of point a finger at the States and say, “Well, why don’t you just abolish a whole lot of these things, that’d be… Go on, just get that done.” Payroll tax supports the provision of police, nurses, teachers, all sorts of different things. And it’s a significant percentage of our revenue base. And it’s an even bigger percentage of our own source revenue base.

Dan Andrews: (54:55)
And we all know the GST’s hardly carved up in our judgment as fairly and equitably as it might be. Otherwise, approach any debate about genuine tax reform, not just changing the rates of taxes. But genuine tax reform, which in general terms, the equitable outcome, the outcome you get that grows productivity, is to broaden the base and lower the rate. That’s the way good tax reform usually works. We’ve had a lot of debates. I’m not talking specifically about GST. I’m talking in broad terms. And I will direct you to my many comments over a long period of time about the GST. Ruthlessly efficient, but very hard to make equitable. I gave a speech, I think in [inaudible 00:55:41] sometime ago, where I talked about the notion that increases in the GST can be very problematic. In that, by the time you compensate everybody for the fact that they’re worse off, there’s not much left. You haven’t actually… Now it’ll grow over time.

Dan Andrews: (55:56)
And then, there’s the small matter of the fact that we don’t get 100 cents in the dollar that Victorian’s paying goods and services tax. We get our through a pretty convoluted, and, we think, unfair formula. We’ll get a percentage of that. So that’s probably more than I needed to say, but I’m not aware of any specific proposal. And then, I shouldn’t have… telling people they ought to abolish payroll tax. That’s that’s a pretty significant step. I’m not aware of a proposal. If one came forward, we would look at it, of course. And perhaps there is an opportunity for significant reform, but there’s also, I think, a pressing obligation to perhaps not get involved in a debate that had been potentially divisive.

Dan Andrews: (56:38)
The cost of capital at the moment is very low. And the governor of the Reserve Bank’s been crystal clear, you’ve got to borrow to build. This is a one in 100-year event. You’ve got to borrow to build, build infrastructure, build confidence, rebuild businesses, and build prosperity and growth. That’s what you have to do. And the cost of finance at the moment is at historic lows. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be paid back, but you can’t pay back any debt, until you get the place growing. That’s the message that I’ve heard loud and clear from the Governor. There’s another whole debate we could have about the Governor buying bonds and potentially not selling them. That’s something I think my states would be very pleased with. But that’s within the province of the governor of the bank.

Speaker 10: (57:22)
Premier, I asked you on Saturday about the fact that there been 12 reports of COVID cases in people who’d been working in hotel quarantine since the 1st of August.

Dan Andrews: (57:34)
Yes, you did.

Speaker 10: (57:34)
And you said, you’d organize a response. I got a response from a spokeswoman from the Department of Justice. And I think the system’s being run by the Department of justice.

Dan Andrews: (57:41)
That would make sense that it would be from Justice and Community Safety.

Speaker 10: (57:44)
She said that no Department of Justice people had been infected with COVID, but I know that there have been spotless employees and employees of other agencies working there.

Dan Andrews: (57:56)
Actually, feeding people and things of that nature.

Speaker 10: (57:57)
Indeed. So it shouldn’t matter who people are working for. The question was, how many people have been infected in COVID with that site?

Dan Andrews: (58:06)
Let me follow that up. And as I think I said to you on the day, the fact that someone is working in that sort of environment and gets the virus, shouldn’t be read that it is absolutely a fact that they got it there. That there is community transmission in our state. There are cases out there, but if I can provide any further information, I will.

Speaker 10: (58:31)
If we could get, specifically, the information on how they [crosstalk 00:58:31] infected-

Dan Andrews: (58:31)
I’ll certainly pass on-

Speaker 10: (58:31)
… and who they will [crosstalk 00:58:30].

Dan Andrews: (58:31)
I will faithfully pass on your requests.

Speaker 10: (58:32)
Thank you.

Speaker 11: (58:36)
Premier, a few painters have contacted me, just wondering if you’ve been briefed on-

Dan Andrews: (58:37)
As long as you didn’t visit your uncle, that’s the key.

Speaker 11: (58:39)
What’s that story?

Dan Andrews: (58:40)
As long as you didn’t visit with your uncle.

Speaker 11: (58:41)
No, now he’s further than 5Ks away.

Dan Andrews: (58:43)
Okay. Very good. We wish him well. I can’t, on this issue… we’ve asked the questions.

Speaker 11: (58:51)
I do have an answer for you.

Dan Andrews: (58:51)
There is an answer?

Speaker 11: (58:54)
Do you want spokesperson [crosstalk 00:58:54].

Dan Andrews: (58:54)
There is an answer?

Speaker 11: (58:54)
I just wondered if you knew.

Dan Andrews: (58:54)
But I think there’s some further information that’s needed, and it relates principally to whether the premises is occupied and the nature of the work that’s being done. And there’s still some vagaries there that I want settled. So there’ll be some stuff go up on the website. And if that doesn’t happen, then I would recommend to your uncle and all others in the painting trade to ring 132215, and we’ll get them an answer as soon as we possibly can.

Speaker 11: (59:23)
Of course, I’ll try this too that I can-

Dan Andrews: (59:25)
Yeah, well, it’s in that capacity. I think the question was asked. So there is provision for some tradespeople to do urgent work inside. Work that’s not urgent should not be done inside unless there’s no one there. And that’s where some of the house construction work has been allowed to come back with very, very, very significant and strict rules. I just wasn’t quite settled on where the example you saw it at sits. And we’re going to try and follow that up.

Speaker 11: (59:55)
Thank you.

Dan Andrews: (59:55)
Further than we already have.

Speaker 11: (59:57)
Now, I just made it a grab.

Dan Andrews: (59:59)
No worries. You’ve got to grab, and your uncle won’t be happy. But anyway, we wish him all the very best. Let’s hope he’s out painting houses again in just a few weeks, a few weeks time.

Speaker 13: (01:00:10)
[inaudible 01:00:10] child cares are working. Is the fact that child care workers don’t qualify for job [inaudible 01:00:15] play any role in having them reopening?

Dan Andrews: (01:00:17)
No. Child care is reopening because we know and understand that it’s a critical feature of people being able to work, whether they be working from home. And that’s the other point that we probably didn’t make a lot of yesterday, if you can work from home, you must still work from home. That’s the rules in regional Victoria. It’s the rules even in industries where there are permits. And it’s going to be a feature of that opening up for quite some time. So whether it be childcare in a formal setting or that childminding… On yesterday, I went to the fact that one person can come into your home and do that. Whether it’s paid or not. It’s not about job keeper, it’s about people being out of work.

Speaker 13: (01:01:02)
[crosstalk 01:01:02] said on the ABC this morning that the state government needs to better explain to the public how contact tracing has improved. Are you able to talk us through that a bit? And also the response, what response? Inevitably, obviously, there will be outbreaks, and how contact tracing will respond to that?

Dan Andrews: (01:01:18)
I’m not aware of her comments. What I would simply say to you is, we report into a national dashboard. And we have for a considerable period of time, every single one of the metrics. It’s a big time. They’re working very hard. I think you can point to both, some IT improvements that are in progress or will be very soon. There’s a CRM platform. There’s also a platform that is, essentially, an adaptation of a defense science product, which is about that anticipatory stuff. So I am trying to see patterns that might not be obvious to you, regional teams, suburban teams that are being stood up. Just also, I think you can’t move past this topic without acknowledging that there are hundreds of different jurisdictions around the world, who at 50 cases, stop contact tracing. They see it in terms of reward for effort, that gets all too hard. 725 cases of a day, 500 cases a day, three or 400 cases a day, when you consider every one of those cases has got three, four, five close contacts. And if it’s in big families as it was, then you’ve got a much bigger audience than that. It is an incredibly challenging task. But we’ve made a whole range of improvements. And we’re very confident that once we get those numbers low and keep them low, that is on the way out of this, we’ll be able to sustain them. And I would point you to the examples I’ve used already today. We’ll try Valley, Colac, and Hallam, three, very, very well done. And they have to be. They absolutely have to be.

Laurel: (01:03:08)
Would you say our system now is just as good as new cell phones?

Dan Andrews: (01:03:12)
I would. I would. And they’re different though. They are different. And they need to be in many respects. Because they’ve not had the community transmission that we’ve had. They’re in a different place as well. They’re open, whereas we’re moving to that. But I’m very grateful for the partnership with New South Wales. And I do say they’re grateful to be talking to us a lot. Because we are learning things from each other. Yeah, absolutely learning things from each other.

Laurel: (01:03:38)
Do you get frustrated, then, when the Prime Minister seems to undermine Victoria’s system and continually [crosstalk 01:03:43]?

Dan Andrews: (01:03:42)
I saw the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday. He can speak to that. He can speak to why, for instance, he thinks that’s the most productive thing to do. I don’t know. She’s starts things like that. I’m much more focused on getting the job done. But I’m not interested in a quarrel with the PM. I’ll work well with the PM. A lot of people are very frustrated. It’s always best not to let that get the better of you. Probably better to focus on the job. That’s what I always do.

Speaker 12: (01:04:12)
[inaudible 01:04:12] is about a month a way. Are you confident in having crowds?

Dan Andrews: (01:04:16)
I can’t guarantee that. I can’t guarantee that. If I could, I would. It’s a very iconic event and we understand that… And I think whether it be race goers, punters, people who are in this industry… it’s a very significant industry and we’ve done our very best to be able to keep the industry going. But it’s got to be done in a COVID safe way. And I can’t, standing here today, give you a complete picture of what that COVID safe level of activity would look like. It’ll be as opened as it can be, but we won’t allow that event to compromise the overall strategy.

Speaker 13: (01:04:53)
[inaudible 01:04:53] this, specific question-

Dan Andrews: (01:04:55)
That’s okay.

Speaker 13: (01:04:56)
… But do dog groomers working from home. Does that count as retail?

Dan Andrews: (01:04:58)
No, I don’t believe so, but I’ll come back to you. Because I know it’s an important issue from a point of view of animal welfare. That’s why I made some announcements a couple of weeks ago. And it’s been my custom and practice where I can with certainty give you an answer, I do. But what I want to be anything other than accurate. Let me chase that up. I don’t believe so, but I’ll get you a definitive answer. We had previously said that retail was important in a fixed premises. I’m not quite sure where the example you have provided sits.

Dan Andrews: (01:05:29)
Any other issues? If not, thank you. And we’ll see it tomorrow.

Speaker 11: (01:05:33)
Thank you.

Laurel: (01:05:33)
Thank you.

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