Media Centre

Victoria To Hit 80 Per Cent First Dose Vaccination Target

After another big week of vaccinations, Victoria is set to hit its first vaccination target on the Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan and a modest easing of restrictions will be able to occur this week. Victoria’s Roadmap sets out a hopeful path to opening while also preserving our health system and ensuring Victorians can still get the healthcare they need when they need it most. The Roadmap was developed based on expert modelling from the Burnet Institute and is set against COVID-19 thresholds including hospitalisation rates, and the vaccination targets already set out in the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response. On Tuesday, Victoria will pass its first threshold on the Roadmap with 80 per cent of Victorians having received their first vaccine dose. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has declared that at 11.59pm on Tuesday 28 September there will be a modest easing to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, in line with the Roadmap. In regional Victoria, outdoor settings for restaurants and cafes will have their outdoor venue cap increase from 20 to 30 people. Masks may be removed if the service requires it in hair and beauty salons, so facials and beard trimmings can recommence. Residents of metropolitan Melbourne and regional areas in lockdown will be able to undertake ‘contactless’ recreation at outdoor facilities, such as boating, tennis or golf. The gathering size outdoors can increase to up to five adults, from two households, if all adults are fully vaccinated. The 10km radius will also expand to 15km – so exercise and shopping can take place up to 15km from your home. Personal training will be able to take place with five fully vaccinated people outside plus a fully vaccinated trainer. The additional restrictions on playgrounds will be lifted – normal public gathering limits apply, and masks can be removed to eat and drink at the playground. Separately, the Chief Health Officer has advised that the City of Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Shire can exit lockdown at 11:59pm tonight, 26 September – with public health teams confident that caseloads, which are largely contained to existing contacts, can be well managed by the local public health unit. Mitchell Shire – with more than twice the number of active cases as Greater Geelong – will remain in lockdown due to its close proximity to areas of highest concern in metropolitan Melbourne. The next milestones in the Roadmap will be when school begins to return to onsite learning on 5 October and when Victoria hits that 70 per cent double dose vaccination target – in late October. It’s important to remember the more Victorians who get vaccinated, the sooner we will hit these targets, and the sooner we can all get back to the things we love. If you haven’t booked your appointment or are waiting for a particular vaccine – do not wait. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get today. Over the next week there are 3,495 Pfizer appointments available and 6,984 Astra Zeneca appointments available at state hubs. Victorians can also book a vaccine appointment through their trusted GP or community pharmacist by visiting www.health.gov.au – and it’s important to remember Victorian pharmacists are now also offering the Moderna vaccine, which is a safe and effective option for any Victorian under the age of 60. For more info on the Roadmap, or to book a vaccination, visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’re about to hit our first stop on the Roadmap, which is a fantastic achievement – but we need to keep the momentum going. Today is the day to book that vaccine appointment.” Quote attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “If you’ve been putting it off or waiting to get vaccinated, don’t wait any longer. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get today and we need to get as many Victorians vaccinated as possible to get back to the things we love.”

Victoria To Hit 80 Per Cent First Dose Vaccination Target

After another big week of vaccinations, Victoria is set to hit its first vaccination target on the Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan and a modest easing of restrictions will be able to occur this week. Victoria’s Roadmap sets out a hopeful path to opening while also preserving our health system and ensuring Victorians can still get the healthcare they need when they need it most. The Roadmap was developed based on expert modelling from the Burnet Institute and is set against COVID-19 thresholds including hospitalisation rates, and the vaccination targets already set out in the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response. On Tuesday, Victoria will pass its first threshold on the Roadmap with 80 per cent of Victorians having received their first vaccine dose. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has declared that at 11.59pm on Tuesday 28 September there will be a modest easing to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, in line with the Roadmap. In regional Victoria, outdoor settings for restaurants and cafes will have their outdoor venue cap increase from 20 to 30 people. Masks may be removed if the service requires it in hair and beauty salons, so facials and beard trimmings can recommence. Residents of metropolitan Melbourne and regional areas in lockdown will be able to undertake ‘contactless’ recreation at outdoor facilities, such as boating, tennis or golf. The gathering size outdoors can increase to up to five adults, from two households, if all adults are fully vaccinated. The 10km radius will also expand to 15km – so exercise and shopping can take place up to 15km from your home. Personal training will be able to take place with five fully vaccinated people outside plus a fully vaccinated trainer. The additional restrictions on playgrounds will be lifted – normal public gathering limits apply, and masks can be removed to eat and drink at the playground. Separately, the Chief Health Officer has advised that the City of Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Shire can exit lockdown at 11:59pm tonight, 26 September – with public health teams confident that caseloads, which are largely contained to existing contacts, can be well managed by the local public health unit. Mitchell Shire – with more than twice the number of active cases as Greater Geelong – will remain in lockdown due to its close proximity to areas of highest concern in metropolitan Melbourne. The next milestones in the Roadmap will be when school begins to return to onsite learning on 5 October and when Victoria hits that 70 per cent double dose vaccination target – in late October. It’s important to remember the more Victorians who get vaccinated, the sooner we will hit these targets, and the sooner we can all get back to the things we love. If you haven’t booked your appointment or are waiting for a particular vaccine – do not wait. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get today. Over the next week there are 3,495 Pfizer appointments available and 6,984 Astra Zeneca appointments available at state hubs. Victorians can also book a vaccine appointment through their trusted GP or community pharmacist by visiting www.health.gov.au – and it’s important to remember Victorian pharmacists are now also offering the Moderna vaccine, which is a safe and effective option for any Victorian under the age of 60. For more info on the Roadmap, or to book a vaccination, visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’re about to hit our first stop on the Roadmap, which is a fantastic achievement – but we need to keep the momentum going. Today is the day to book that vaccine appointment.” Quote attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “If you’ve been putting it off or waiting to get vaccinated, don’t wait any longer. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get today and we need to get as many Victorians vaccinated as possible to get back to the things we love.”

Following The Three Vs For A Safe Return To School

The Victorian Government is making sure the return to the classroom is as safe as possible, with the biggest investment in education ventilation in Australian history to be rolled out across Victorian schools as part of a plan to keep school communities protected with the Three Vs: Ventilation, Vaccination and Vital COVIDSafe Steps. To help slow the spread of coronavirus in school settings, the Government is investing more than $190 million in initiatives ready to implement in schools across Victoria to ensure that once they’re back open, they stay open. From the start of Term 4, 51,000 air purification devices will be rolled out to all government and low-fee non-government schools to remove potentially infectious particles – like coronavirus – from higher-risk areas in schools including staff rooms, sick bays, music rooms and other high traffic areas. The purifiers will be delivered by tech giant Samsung, and to get as many school sites as possible protected quickly, their delivery to Victoria will include being expedited by air progressively in the coming weeks and months. In addition, these 2,149 schools will all be entitled to a grant of up to $25,000 to purchase shade sails – with $60 million to create more outdoor learning spaces and make it easy for classes to be conducted outside. This program complements the Department of Health’s existing School Shade Grants Program. Throughout the school holidays and Term 4, infrastructure audits, ventilation assessments, and CO2 monitoring that has already started will continue in a sample of schools to identify any further actions that can be taken to make schools even safer – and will also cover a number of early childhood education services co-located on school sites. While our top priority is getting students back to school quickly and safely, we are establishing a Ventilation Technical Advisory Panel to undertake further risk assessments of other environments – for example, early childhood settings and youth justice facilities, which will help inform future ventilation measures. These initiatives build on advice already issued to schools to increase fresh air flow into indoor spaces through opening windows, using door jams, and switching air handling units to 100 per cent outdoor air, where possible. The best way to protect all school communities and ensure face-to-face learning isn’t disrupted is for everyone eligible to get vaccinated – and the Chief Health Officer has today advised that vaccination will be made a requirement of work for staff in schools and early childhood settings to protect children, staff and our communities. In order to work, all staff in schools and early childhood services will be required to have a first dose by 18 October or have a booking within one week, with full vaccination required by 29 November unless a medical exemption applies – including in government and non-government schools and all types of early childhood and care settings. The Department of Education and Training will support principals to implement this requirement in the coming weeks, with all government school staff entitled to a half-day of paid time off to get their vaccination, and staff – alongside families and students over 12 – are urged to book in and protect themselves as soon as possible. While home testing is not yet approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, a small trial of home antigen testing will start soon with school children and families, overseen by health experts, to explore their feasibility in a range of education settings – helping to inform our future use with larger cohorts once home testing is approved. As the first tranches of students prepare to return to school in early October, the Government and public health team have put in place strict measures to keep school communities safer and limit the number of people who would be forced to isolate if a case is found on a school site. Masks will remain mandatory for secondary school students and all adults, helping to prevent transmission – and they are also strongly encouraged for primary school-aged children wherever possible. Schools have already implemented measures like staggered pick-up and drop-off times, QR code check-ins for any essential visitors, and as much physical distancing as is possible in classrooms – and when students return, will limit mixing among year levels and use large spaces like halls and gyms where possible. Until the public health team advises that higher-risk activities are safe to resume – and in line with the timelines set out in the broader roadmap – schools will also postpone indoor and contact sports, camps, excursions, assemblies and performances to prevent the spread of the virus. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I know Victorian families can’t wait to see their kids back in the classroom – but we need to keep them safe once they’re there, and we’re delivering ventilation devices to prevent as much transmission on school sites as possible.” “With a roadmap in place to get all students back to school safely, we’ll make sure every single Victorian child is supported when they’re back in the classroom – whether that’s with their schoolwork or their wellbeing.”

Following The Three Vs For A Safe Return To School

The Victorian Government is making sure the return to the classroom is as safe as possible, with the biggest investment in education ventilation in Australian history to be rolled out across Victorian schools as part of a plan to keep school communities protected with the Three Vs: Ventilation, Vaccination and Vital COVIDSafe Steps. To help slow the spread of coronavirus in school settings, the Government is investing more than $190 million in initiatives ready to implement in schools across Victoria to ensure that once they’re back open, they stay open. From the start of Term 4, 51,000 air purification devices will be rolled out to all government and low-fee non-government schools to remove potentially infectious particles – like coronavirus – from higher-risk areas in schools including staff rooms, sick bays, music rooms and other high traffic areas. The purifiers will be delivered by tech giant Samsung, and to get as many school sites as possible protected quickly, their delivery to Victoria will include being expedited by air progressively in the coming weeks and months. In addition, these 2,149 schools will all be entitled to a grant of up to $25,000 to purchase shade sails – with $60 million to create more outdoor learning spaces and make it easy for classes to be conducted outside. This program complements the Department of Health’s existing School Shade Grants Program. Throughout the school holidays and Term 4, infrastructure audits, ventilation assessments, and CO2 monitoring that has already started will continue in a sample of schools to identify any further actions that can be taken to make schools even safer – and will also cover a number of early childhood education services co-located on school sites. While our top priority is getting students back to school quickly and safely, we are establishing a Ventilation Technical Advisory Panel to undertake further risk assessments of other environments – for example, early childhood settings and youth justice facilities, which will help inform future ventilation measures. These initiatives build on advice already issued to schools to increase fresh air flow into indoor spaces through opening windows, using door jams, and switching air handling units to 100 per cent outdoor air, where possible. The best way to protect all school communities and ensure face-to-face learning isn’t disrupted is for everyone eligible to get vaccinated – and the Chief Health Officer has today advised that vaccination will be made a requirement of work for staff in schools and early childhood settings to protect children, staff and our communities. In order to work, all staff in schools and early childhood services will be required to have a first dose by 18 October or have a booking within one week, with full vaccination required by 29 November unless a medical exemption applies – including in government and non-government schools and all types of early childhood and care settings. The Department of Education and Training will support principals to implement this requirement in the coming weeks, with all government school staff entitled to a half-day of paid time off to get their vaccination, and staff – alongside families and students over 12 – are urged to book in and protect themselves as soon as possible. While home testing is not yet approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, a small trial of home antigen testing will start soon with school children and families, overseen by health experts, to explore their feasibility in a range of education settings – helping to inform our future use with larger cohorts once home testing is approved. As the first tranches of students prepare to return to school in early October, the Government and public health team have put in place strict measures to keep school communities safer and limit the number of people who would be forced to isolate if a case is found on a school site. Masks will remain mandatory for secondary school students and all adults, helping to prevent transmission – and they are also strongly encouraged for primary school-aged children wherever possible. Schools have already implemented measures like staggered pick-up and drop-off times, QR code check-ins for any essential visitors, and as much physical distancing as is possible in classrooms – and when students return, will limit mixing among year levels and use large spaces like halls and gyms where possible. Until the public health team advises that higher-risk activities are safe to resume – and in line with the timelines set out in the broader roadmap – schools will also postpone indoor and contact sports, camps, excursions, assemblies and performances to prevent the spread of the virus. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I know Victorian families can’t wait to see their kids back in the classroom – but we need to keep them safe once they’re there, and we’re delivering ventilation devices to prevent as much transmission on school sites as possible.” “With a roadmap in place to get all students back to school safely, we’ll make sure every single Victorian child is supported when they’re back in the classroom – whether that’s with their schoolwork or their wellbeing.”

Statement From The Premier

There is no excuse for the terrible behaviour we have seen in our city over the last two days. Acts of violence and disruption won't result in one less case of Covid - in fact it only helps the virus to spread. Thank you to the brave men and women of Victoria Police for their work today - and every day - to keep our community safe. We know vaccinations are our only ticket out of this pandemic. There is no other way. For those who think violence is the answer, I ask that you think of your fellow Victorians - doing the right thing over many months, following the advice of our health experts. We have come too far to turn back now. Please spare a thought for our healthcare workers who are working such long hours looking after patients, many who are struggling to breathe. The more of us who get vaccinated, the fewer of us who will end up in hospital. It’s as simple as that.

Statement From The Premier

There is no excuse for the terrible behaviour we have seen in our city over the last two days. Acts of violence and disruption won't result in one less case of Covid - in fact it only helps the virus to spread. Thank you to the brave men and women of Victoria Police for their work today - and every day - to keep our community safe. We know vaccinations are our only ticket out of this pandemic. There is no other way. For those who think violence is the answer, I ask that you think of your fellow Victorians - doing the right thing over many months, following the advice of our health experts. We have come too far to turn back now. Please spare a thought for our healthcare workers who are working such long hours looking after patients, many who are struggling to breathe. The more of us who get vaccinated, the fewer of us who will end up in hospital. It’s as simple as that.

Supporting COVID-Safe Multicultural Festivals And Events

The Victorian Government is supporting multicultural and multifaith communities to reconnect, celebrate and share their culture in 2022 with grants available for community festivals and events. Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence today announced the opening of the next round of the Multicultural Festivals and Events Program for community organisations to deliver COVIDSafe events between January and June next year. Grants of up to $50,000 are available for events that promote the sharing of cultures and the importance of community – with those that benefit new and emerging, and regional and rural communities to be prioritised. While COVIDSafe in person events remain eligible for funding under this next round of the program, the pandemic has shown us that strengthening community connections can take many forms, so organisations are also encouraged to seek funding for events that will be undertaken on online platforms. Last year, cultural celebrations continued to thrive in a digital environment and many successful online events were funded through the program including SalamFest, Humans in Geelong Online Expo and Vivid Diwali. This round of funding will include a dedicated allocation of $50,000 to support organisations planning Hindu celebrations as part of the Government’s election commitment of $200,000 over four years towards Hindu festivals and events. Applications open today and close on Monday 18 October 2021. For more information or to apply, visit vic.gov.au/multicultural-festivals-and-events-program Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence “The pandemic has shown how important community connections are, and this will support multicultural and multifaith communities to come together again – whether in-person or online.” “Our connections to each other and our communities are crucial to our wellbeing.” “The Multicultural Festivals and Events Program ensures our multicultural and multifaith communities stay connected to their culture, traditions and identity and can share this with all Victorians.”

Supporting COVID-Safe Multicultural Festivals And Events

The Victorian Government is supporting multicultural and multifaith communities to reconnect, celebrate and share their culture in 2022 with grants available for community festivals and events. Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence today announced the opening of the next round of the Multicultural Festivals and Events Program for community organisations to deliver COVIDSafe events between January and June next year. Grants of up to $50,000 are available for events that promote the sharing of cultures and the importance of community – with those that benefit new and emerging, and regional and rural communities to be prioritised. While COVIDSafe in person events remain eligible for funding under this next round of the program, the pandemic has shown us that strengthening community connections can take many forms, so organisations are also encouraged to seek funding for events that will be undertaken on online platforms. Last year, cultural celebrations continued to thrive in a digital environment and many successful online events were funded through the program including SalamFest, Humans in Geelong Online Expo and Vivid Diwali. This round of funding will include a dedicated allocation of $50,000 to support organisations planning Hindu celebrations as part of the Government’s election commitment of $200,000 over four years towards Hindu festivals and events. Applications open today and close on Monday 18 October 2021. For more information or to apply, visit vic.gov.au/multicultural-festivals-and-events-program Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence “The pandemic has shown how important community connections are, and this will support multicultural and multifaith communities to come together again – whether in-person or online.” “Our connections to each other and our communities are crucial to our wellbeing.” “The Multicultural Festivals and Events Program ensures our multicultural and multifaith communities stay connected to their culture, traditions and identity and can share this with all Victorians.”

 

Victoria’s Roadmap: Delivering The National Plan

These past 20 months have been incredibly hard on all Victorians. We have missed our loved ones and doing the things we love, all the while buying time for people to get vaccinated. Opening up too soon – before people had the chance to get the jab – would mean our hospital system simply could not cope and catastrophic numbers of Victorians would become seriously unwell. However, as more and more Victorians get that protection, we move to the next phase of the pandemic and we have the opportunity to open up. The path to being open again will be difficult – but essential to moving forward as a state. Victoria’s new Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan released today sets us on a hopeful path to opening while also preserving our health system and ensuring Victorians can still get the healthcare they need, when they need it most. The Roadmap has been developed based on expert modelling from the Burnet Institute and is set against COVID-19 thresholds including hospitalisation rates, and the vaccination targets already set out in the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response. The modelling has helped our public health teams get a picture of what our hospitalisation rates could look like while cases are still rising and develop trigger points to indicate if the system is becoming overstretched – allowing time to implement further health measures and protect it from becoming overwhelmed. While we’re no longer aiming for COVID zero, it’s imperative we don’t jeopardise our health system as we open up – too many Victorians rely on it every day. The COVID-19 thresholds detailed in the Roadmap will be important measures to maintain as we move through the different stages in order to safeguard the health system. There will be a “guard rail” system in place, which will allow our public health team to adjust restrictions if hospital admissions become too high. The Burnet modelling also shows that the key to opening up and reducing risk in Victoria will be making sure workers across the state are vaccinated. To help ensure this, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer will assess vaccination requirements for all authorised workers in Victoria. These requirements and potential deadlines will be assessed progressively as the Chief Health Officer considers each sector. There are already vaccine requirements for aged care, construction, and freight workforces. Following the recommendation from AHPPC to National Cabinet, we can confirm that healthcare workers will be the next workforce to have vaccination become a requirement to work. Healthcare workers will need to have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 15 October or provide evidence that they have an appointment to be vaccinated before 1 November to continue working. The next workforce group prioritised for assessment will be school staff and childcare staff. We will also have more to say soon about Victoria Police and disability worker vaccinations requirements. As we reach 70 per cent and 80 per cent double dose vaccination targets, the Roadmap lists certain venues for opening – but only on the condition that all eligible attendees to the venue are vaccinated. While we remain constrained by Pfizer vaccine supply from the Commonwealth, the Moderna vaccine will start being delivered through pharmacies this week, more GPs will have access to Pfizer and we’ll continue to do everything we can to prioritise vaccination those who need it – and make access to vaccinations as easy as possible for all Victorians. As we’ve flagged before, there will come a time when Victorians who choose not to get vaccinated will be left behind – that time has now been firmly set in the Roadmap. When Victoria reaches 70 per cent double dose vaccination, changes will include an increase in numbers for public gatherings outdoors, funerals, weddings and religious gatherings – with larger caps for people who are fully vaccinated. Creative studios, amusement parks, entertainment venues and hospitality will also reopen with patron cap and density limits but only to people who are fully vaccinated. There is very little precedence in Australia for fully vaccinated events, which is why the Government will conduct trials to support businesses as much as possible in the lead up to transitioning to a ‘vaccinated economy’ in this state, and ensure we have the right systems in place. Both one-off events and specific venues will be considered – with businesses permitted to operate with higher patron caps if all staff and patrons provide evidence of full vaccination. Areas in regional Victoria with highest vaccination rates and no COVID-19 cases will be the first to be considered for these trials. Proof of vaccination options will also be part of the trials. The Service Victoria app will be integrated with a Medicare Certificate that shows proof of vaccination and other proof of vaccination options may also trialled to determine what works best for both businesses and patrons. Another key part of the Roadmap when we hit 70 per cent double dose vaccination, getting more activities outside is a key part of keeping us safe and slowing case numbers. We want to see retail shopping in laneways and fitness classes in our parks. Based on the overwhelming success of last Summer’s Outdoor Dining program, we will be looking to provide additional funding to councils and businesses to get even more activities outside and more details will be released about this soon. For the final phase of the Roadmap, we will wait for more details to be developed as part of the National Plan as we move beyond 80 per cent double dose vaccination rates and we will update Victorians on that final phase in coming weeks. We know how important getting to the end of the year and being able to celebrate Christmas will be for so many. That’s why we are working towards having 30 visitors to the home by late December – and with travel across both interstate and international borders open again, many families will be able to reunite. So, if you are yet to book your vaccination, now is the time. In our state clinics there are 4,796 AstraZeneca appointments and 9,076 Pfizer appointments available over the next week. Victorians can also book through their trusted GP or local pharmacist. More than ever, the best vaccine is the vaccine that’s available today. For more information on Victoria’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Victoria’s Roadmap: Delivering The National Plan

These past 20 months have been incredibly hard on all Victorians. We have missed our loved ones and doing the things we love, all the while buying time for people to get vaccinated. Opening up too soon – before people had the chance to get the jab – would mean our hospital system simply could not cope and catastrophic numbers of Victorians would become seriously unwell. However, as more and more Victorians get that protection, we move to the next phase of the pandemic and we have the opportunity to open up. The path to being open again will be difficult – but essential to moving forward as a state. Victoria’s new Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan released today sets us on a hopeful path to opening while also preserving our health system and ensuring Victorians can still get the healthcare they need, when they need it most. The Roadmap has been developed based on expert modelling from the Burnet Institute and is set against COVID-19 thresholds including hospitalisation rates, and the vaccination targets already set out in the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response. The modelling has helped our public health teams get a picture of what our hospitalisation rates could look like while cases are still rising and develop trigger points to indicate if the system is becoming overstretched – allowing time to implement further health measures and protect it from becoming overwhelmed. While we’re no longer aiming for COVID zero, it’s imperative we don’t jeopardise our health system as we open up – too many Victorians rely on it every day. The COVID-19 thresholds detailed in the Roadmap will be important measures to maintain as we move through the different stages in order to safeguard the health system. There will be a “guard rail” system in place, which will allow our public health team to adjust restrictions if hospital admissions become too high. The Burnet modelling also shows that the key to opening up and reducing risk in Victoria will be making sure workers across the state are vaccinated. To help ensure this, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer will assess vaccination requirements for all authorised workers in Victoria. These requirements and potential deadlines will be assessed progressively as the Chief Health Officer considers each sector. There are already vaccine requirements for aged care, construction, and freight workforces. Following the recommendation from AHPPC to National Cabinet, we can confirm that healthcare workers will be the next workforce to have vaccination become a requirement to work. Healthcare workers will need to have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 15 October or provide evidence that they have an appointment to be vaccinated before 1 November to continue working. The next workforce group prioritised for assessment will be school staff and childcare staff. We will also have more to say soon about Victoria Police and disability worker vaccinations requirements. As we reach 70 per cent and 80 per cent double dose vaccination targets, the Roadmap lists certain venues for opening – but only on the condition that all eligible attendees to the venue are vaccinated. While we remain constrained by Pfizer vaccine supply from the Commonwealth, the Moderna vaccine will start being delivered through pharmacies this week, more GPs will have access to Pfizer and we’ll continue to do everything we can to prioritise vaccination those who need it – and make access to vaccinations as easy as possible for all Victorians. As we’ve flagged before, there will come a time when Victorians who choose not to get vaccinated will be left behind – that time has now been firmly set in the Roadmap. When Victoria reaches 70 per cent double dose vaccination, changes will include an increase in numbers for public gatherings outdoors, funerals, weddings and religious gatherings – with larger caps for people who are fully vaccinated. Creative studios, amusement parks, entertainment venues and hospitality will also reopen with patron cap and density limits but only to people who are fully vaccinated. There is very little precedence in Australia for fully vaccinated events, which is why the Government will conduct trials to support businesses as much as possible in the lead up to transitioning to a ‘vaccinated economy’ in this state, and ensure we have the right systems in place. Both one-off events and specific venues will be considered – with businesses permitted to operate with higher patron caps if all staff and patrons provide evidence of full vaccination. Areas in regional Victoria with highest vaccination rates and no COVID-19 cases will be the first to be considered for these trials. Proof of vaccination options will also be part of the trials. The Service Victoria app will be integrated with a Medicare Certificate that shows proof of vaccination and other proof of vaccination options may also trialled to determine what works best for both businesses and patrons. Another key part of the Roadmap when we hit 70 per cent double dose vaccination, getting more activities outside is a key part of keeping us safe and slowing case numbers. We want to see retail shopping in laneways and fitness classes in our parks. Based on the overwhelming success of last Summer’s Outdoor Dining program, we will be looking to provide additional funding to councils and businesses to get even more activities outside and more details will be released about this soon. For the final phase of the Roadmap, we will wait for more details to be developed as part of the National Plan as we move beyond 80 per cent double dose vaccination rates and we will update Victorians on that final phase in coming weeks. We know how important getting to the end of the year and being able to celebrate Christmas will be for so many. That’s why we are working towards having 30 visitors to the home by late December – and with travel across both interstate and international borders open again, many families will be able to reunite. So, if you are yet to book your vaccination, now is the time. In our state clinics there are 4,796 AstraZeneca appointments and 9,076 Pfizer appointments available over the next week. Victorians can also book through their trusted GP or local pharmacist. More than ever, the best vaccine is the vaccine that’s available today. For more information on Victoria’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Record Low Unemployment Shows Underlying Economic Strength

Victoria is well on the way to smashing its target of creating 400,000 jobs by 2025, with 288,000 finding work since September 2020, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The data shows that more than 29,000 people found work in August alone – the highest of any state, while employment fell nationally in the month. While restrictions put in place to save lives and protect our health system have, and continues to, put pressure on the businesses and the economy – the data shows the underlying strength of the economy heading into the most recent lockdown. Victoria’s unemployment rate fell to a staggeringly low 4.1 per cent, the lowest unemployment rate in Victoria since records began in 1978. This is easily the lowest of any State, and well below the national average of 4.5 per cent. Victoria's participation rate has also reached a new record level – rising to 66.9 per cent in August – with both male and female participation rates increasing. These results show that Victoria’s economy is resilient despite the impacts of the global pandemic. The Victorian Government continues to provide significant support to Victorian businesses impacted by the pandemic, providing more than $10 billion in direct economic support to business since the start of the pandemic. The most recent support package provides an unprecedented $2.34 billion (jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments) and will support around 175,000 Victorian small and medium-sized businesses hit hardest by the current public health lockdown. The Government’s latest budget was focused on growing jobs, with more than $26 billion to support an average of 38,000 jobs across the state each year over the next four years. Quotes attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas “While we know many businesses and workers continue to do it tough, these figures show the strength of the Victorian economy – which has helped it withstand the shocks brought on by this pandemic.“ “More than 29,000 Victorians finding work in August alone, while employment actually fell in most other states in the same period,  is a clear sign that the economy is in good shape in Victoria.“ ‘‘These figures are a credit to each and every Victorian – it‘s been a really challenging time for Victorian businesses and workers, and we’re continuing to stand with them every step of the way.“

Record Low Unemployment Shows Underlying Economic Strength

Victoria is well on the way to smashing its target of creating 400,000 jobs by 2025, with 288,000 finding work since September 2020, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The data shows that more than 29,000 people found work in August alone – the highest of any state, while employment fell nationally in the month. While restrictions put in place to save lives and protect our health system have, and continues to, put pressure on the businesses and the economy – the data shows the underlying strength of the economy heading into the most recent lockdown. Victoria’s unemployment rate fell to a staggeringly low 4.1 per cent, the lowest unemployment rate in Victoria since records began in 1978. This is easily the lowest of any State, and well below the national average of 4.5 per cent. Victoria's participation rate has also reached a new record level – rising to 66.9 per cent in August – with both male and female participation rates increasing. These results show that Victoria’s economy is resilient despite the impacts of the global pandemic. The Victorian Government continues to provide significant support to Victorian businesses impacted by the pandemic, providing more than $10 billion in direct economic support to business since the start of the pandemic. The most recent support package provides an unprecedented $2.34 billion (jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments) and will support around 175,000 Victorian small and medium-sized businesses hit hardest by the current public health lockdown. The Government’s latest budget was focused on growing jobs, with more than $26 billion to support an average of 38,000 jobs across the state each year over the next four years. Quotes attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas “While we know many businesses and workers continue to do it tough, these figures show the strength of the Victorian economy – which has helped it withstand the shocks brought on by this pandemic.“ “More than 29,000 Victorians finding work in August alone, while employment actually fell in most other states in the same period,  is a clear sign that the economy is in good shape in Victoria.“ ‘‘These figures are a credit to each and every Victorian – it‘s been a really challenging time for Victorian businesses and workers, and we’re continuing to stand with them every step of the way.“

Have Your Say On The Future Of Victoria’s Parks

The Victorian Government has launched a new Parks Victoria Land Management Strategy (LMS) and is inviting Victorians to give feedback on how our parks will be managed into the future. The draft Land Management Strategy (LMS) is a state-wide document that sets out long-term strategies for the protection, management and use of Parks Victoria land for the next decade. The LMS will help Parks Victoria respond to the complex social, cultural and environmental challenges, including working alongside Traditional Owners, increasing demand for visitor experiences, a growing population and climate change. Once finalised, the Land Management Strategy will be an important guide for developing and reviewing park management plans and set out priorities for partners, stakeholders and community. Along with the draft LMS, Parks Victoria has developed a draft Outcomes Reporting Framework providing clear measures to track the strategy’s implementation over time. Parks Victoria, with DELWP, supported the development of the Cultural Landscapes Strategy facilitated by the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations. The objectives identified in the Cultural Landscapes Strategy will complement the outcomes and priorities of the LMS. People can share their feedback online and read the draft LMS and the draft Outcomes Reporting Framework via Engage Victoria at engage.vic.gov.au/lms. Consultation on the draft strategy is open from 16 September until 17 October 2021. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, the Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “This is a significant opportunity for the Victorian community to have their say and make sure our parks are healthy and resilient for future generations.” “The Strategy is about long-term outcomes – setting out how we restore and protect our parks and support sustainable tourism, particularly in regional Victoria.”

Have Your Say On The Future Of Victoria’s Parks

The Victorian Government has launched a new Parks Victoria Land Management Strategy (LMS) and is inviting Victorians to give feedback on how our parks will be managed into the future. The draft Land Management Strategy (LMS) is a state-wide document that sets out long-term strategies for the protection, management and use of Parks Victoria land for the next decade. The LMS will help Parks Victoria respond to the complex social, cultural and environmental challenges, including working alongside Traditional Owners, increasing demand for visitor experiences, a growing population and climate change. Once finalised, the Land Management Strategy will be an important guide for developing and reviewing park management plans and set out priorities for partners, stakeholders and community. Along with the draft LMS, Parks Victoria has developed a draft Outcomes Reporting Framework providing clear measures to track the strategy’s implementation over time. Parks Victoria, with DELWP, supported the development of the Cultural Landscapes Strategy facilitated by the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations. The objectives identified in the Cultural Landscapes Strategy will complement the outcomes and priorities of the LMS. People can share their feedback online and read the draft LMS and the draft Outcomes Reporting Framework via Engage Victoria at engage.vic.gov.au/lms. Consultation on the draft strategy is open from 16 September until 17 October 2021. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, the Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “This is a significant opportunity for the Victorian community to have their say and make sure our parks are healthy and resilient for future generations.” “The Strategy is about long-term outcomes – setting out how we restore and protect our parks and support sustainable tourism, particularly in regional Victoria.”

New Freedoms When 70 Per Cent First Dose Target Reached

Thanks to the incredible efforts of our community, Victoria will hit our 70 per cent first dose vaccination target tomorrow – becoming the second state in Australia to do so. With this milestone, new freedoms can take effect – but emerging risks must be addressed and we need to keep the momentum going to hit 70 per cent and 80 per cent double dose targets as soon as possible. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has recommended some modest easing to restrictions from 11.59pm Friday, 17 September in lockdown areas of metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat – expanding outdoor social interaction, exercise, the distance you can travel from home and more. The most significant change is that there will now be one other reason to leave home: outdoor social interaction. This means one person may meet another person not from their household for a picnic, a walk, or another outdoor activity. Additionally, up to five adults (plus dependents) from two households will be able to gather outdoors if all adults present have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The time permitted for exercise – and now outdoor social interaction – will increase from two hours a day to four hours. The distance you can leave home for shopping for necessary goods and services, exercise and outdoor social interaction will increase from five kilometres to 10 kilometres. As part of further changes to exercise, two people will now be able to train outdoors with a personal trainer. Skate parks and outdoor communal exercise equipment will reopen. Child-minding for school-aged children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker. Up to five people will be able to attend an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility to broadcast a performance, class, or concert. Real estate inspections will resume by appointment only. To ensure they’re COVIDSafe, only people from the same household can attend the inspection appointment and the real estate agent must stay outdoors during the inspection. While these changes can go ahead, public health officials have become increasingly concerned about COVID-19 transmission and exposure in construction settings, with evidence that it emerging as a ‘vector’ of the virus into regional areas. Changes will be made to limit further spread in this industry, allowing people to keep working safely. In order to continue working, construction workers state-wide will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59pm Thursday, 23 September. Limited medical exemptions and proof-of-booking exceptions will apply, in line with previous requirements for residential aged care workers. In light of the cases seeding from Melbourne into regional Victoria, construction workers will now not be able to cross the metropolitan-regional boundary for work.  Tea rooms will need to close and food or drink will not be able to be consumed indoors at work. Worker shift bubbles must be in practice and all sites will require a COVIDSafe Marshal on site. From 11.59pm tomorrow night, there will also be some changes to COVIDSafe settings in regional Victoria – excluding the City of Ballarat which entered lockdown yesterday. In regional Victoria, gyms and outdoor and indoor pools (excluding spas, saunas and steam rooms) will reopen with limits and hydrotherapy and swimming lessons can occur. Tour buses can operate up to 10 people. Victorians can book their vaccination appointment at a state-run centre by visiting portal.cvms.vic.gov.au or by phoning the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. Construction workers can also access priority booking (phone only) and can walk up without a booking for Pfizer during key times at the old Ford Factory in Campbellfield, the former Bunnings in Melton West, Eagle Stadium in Werribee and the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. If you’re yet to be vaccinated, please book your appointment today – either in state-run centres, or at your GP or local pharmacy. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get today. If have any questions or concerns you can talk to a GP, pharmacist or to a senior and experienced immuniser at our state-run sites. While we’re able to make these changes now, we still can’t afford to let this virus run free – our hospital system would be overrun, our frontline staff would be placed under extreme pressure, and quite frankly, people will die. We need to keep slowing the spread of the virus until enough of us are fully vaccinated. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “While these are modest changes, today is a positive day and sign of things to come for Victorians once we get our double dose vaccination rates up.” “It’s also a signal: if you are vaccinated, you can get back to doing the things you love, sooner. If you aren’t vaccinated, then the safety of everyone else has to come first.” “With more than 6 million vaccine doses delivered in Victoria, we’ll continue to ramp up and do everything we can to keep this momentum going, so we can have Victoria open and thriving again as soon as possible.”    Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “While we can make these changes today, we need to continue to follow the health directions to keep cases under control, to protect our health system and most importantly to protect our friends and family from this virus.” “We’ve got a vaccination blitz underway for construction workers – and I encourage everyone in the industry to phone up today for a priority booking, wherever they live.”

New Freedoms When 70 Per Cent First Dose Target Reached

Thanks to the incredible efforts of our community, Victoria will hit our 70 per cent first dose vaccination target tomorrow – becoming the second state in Australia to do so. With this milestone, new freedoms can take effect – but emerging risks must be addressed and we need to keep the momentum going to hit 70 per cent and 80 per cent double dose targets as soon as possible. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has recommended some modest easing to restrictions from 11.59pm Friday, 17 September in lockdown areas of metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat – expanding outdoor social interaction, exercise, the distance you can travel from home and more. The most significant change is that there will now be one other reason to leave home: outdoor social interaction. This means one person may meet another person not from their household for a picnic, a walk, or another outdoor activity. Additionally, up to five adults (plus dependents) from two households will be able to gather outdoors if all adults present have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The time permitted for exercise – and now outdoor social interaction – will increase from two hours a day to four hours. The distance you can leave home for shopping for necessary goods and services, exercise and outdoor social interaction will increase from five kilometres to 10 kilometres. As part of further changes to exercise, two people will now be able to train outdoors with a personal trainer. Skate parks and outdoor communal exercise equipment will reopen. Child-minding for school-aged children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker. Up to five people will be able to attend an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility to broadcast a performance, class, or concert. Real estate inspections will resume by appointment only. To ensure they’re COVIDSafe, only people from the same household can attend the inspection appointment and the real estate agent must stay outdoors during the inspection. While these changes can go ahead, public health officials have become increasingly concerned about COVID-19 transmission and exposure in construction settings, with evidence that it emerging as a ‘vector’ of the virus into regional areas. Changes will be made to limit further spread in this industry, allowing people to keep working safely. In order to continue working, construction workers state-wide will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59pm Thursday, 23 September. Limited medical exemptions and proof-of-booking exceptions will apply, in line with previous requirements for residential aged care workers. In light of the cases seeding from Melbourne into regional Victoria, construction workers will now not be able to cross the metropolitan-regional boundary for work.  Tea rooms will need to close and food or drink will not be able to be consumed indoors at work. Worker shift bubbles must be in practice and all sites will require a COVIDSafe Marshal on site. From 11.59pm tomorrow night, there will also be some changes to COVIDSafe settings in regional Victoria – excluding the City of Ballarat which entered lockdown yesterday. In regional Victoria, gyms and outdoor and indoor pools (excluding spas, saunas and steam rooms) will reopen with limits and hydrotherapy and swimming lessons can occur. Tour buses can operate up to 10 people. Victorians can book their vaccination appointment at a state-run centre by visiting portal.cvms.vic.gov.au or by phoning the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. Construction workers can also access priority booking (phone only) and can walk up without a booking for Pfizer during key times at the old Ford Factory in Campbellfield, the former Bunnings in Melton West, Eagle Stadium in Werribee and the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. If you’re yet to be vaccinated, please book your appointment today – either in state-run centres, or at your GP or local pharmacy. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get today. If have any questions or concerns you can talk to a GP, pharmacist or to a senior and experienced immuniser at our state-run sites. While we’re able to make these changes now, we still can’t afford to let this virus run free – our hospital system would be overrun, our frontline staff would be placed under extreme pressure, and quite frankly, people will die. We need to keep slowing the spread of the virus until enough of us are fully vaccinated. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “While these are modest changes, today is a positive day and sign of things to come for Victorians once we get our double dose vaccination rates up.” “It’s also a signal: if you are vaccinated, you can get back to doing the things you love, sooner. If you aren’t vaccinated, then the safety of everyone else has to come first.” “With more than 6 million vaccine doses delivered in Victoria, we’ll continue to ramp up and do everything we can to keep this momentum going, so we can have Victoria open and thriving again as soon as possible.”    Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “While we can make these changes today, we need to continue to follow the health directions to keep cases under control, to protect our health system and most importantly to protect our friends and family from this virus.” “We’ve got a vaccination blitz underway for construction workers – and I encourage everyone in the industry to phone up today for a priority booking, wherever they live.”