THE Victorian Premier has been asked to give special consideration to border areas before ordering future COVID-19 lockdowns.
Regional business and tourism chiefs wrote to Daniel Andrews on Monday in the wake of the snap statewide five-day lockdown this month.
The letter initiated by three Ballarat organisations was supported by Business Wodonga which filtered through concerns of border enterprises.
One of four "key learnings" flagged with Mr Andrews was "greater clarity for border communities".
"In developing further plans for possible shutdowns, the unique nature of border communities must be considered fully," leaders of the Commerce Ballarat, Committee for Ballarat and Ballarat Regional Tourism tell Mr Andrews.
"Businesses in border regions have suffered and their capacity to remain competitive in their markets has been compromised."
Other critical factors raised were having a more nuanced approach to shutdowns, need for clarity and consistency on restrictions and government departments being better equipped to handle and community inquiries.
"The lack of timely information, incorrect and inaccurate information erodes confidence in government, enhances uncertainty and adds yet another burden to businesses across the state," the trio told Mr Andrews.
The representatives note a 'one-size-fits-all' approach may have been necessary given uncertainty about the UK strain of COVID but added it "cannot be the only answer if we are to live with some levels of the virus in the community into the future".
"Businesses and livelihoods suffer unnecessarily when a state-wide shutdown is imposed and the impact of this is disproportional when considering metropolitan, regional and rural areas," the group stated.
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"We note and recognise the State Government's Roadmaps to Recovery through 2020 included one for Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
"We believe a similar approach is warranted for 2021 and beyond as required."
Business Wodonga chief executive Neil Aird said Commerce Ballarat chief executive Jodie Gillett had sought input from border areas.
The letter comes as Victorian border businesses hurt by the summer checkpoints continue to wait and see if they will receive specific government compensation.
Mr Aird said he was "still hopeful, but it's only hopeful" considering lack of correspondence he has had from the government.
The Victorian Small Business Minister's office did not reply to The Border Mail yesterday when asked if aid for border enterprises was under consideration.
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