Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced he has “no time for politics” as he was grilled by Lisa Wilkinson on The Project.
She asked probing questions on the mental health risks about extending Victoria's lockdown by two weeks.
“How are you deciding the balance between the COVID health risk and the mental health risk, particularly with today's extension of another two weeks?” Wilkinson asked.
“Because isn't there a real danger of the mental health cost of COVID leaving a much deeper scar for generations to come?”
“The need is greater because of the pressure of these last months,” he said.
He revealed that the Stage Four coronavirus lockdown would be in place over Melbourne until September 28th.
After this deadline is reached, a four-step program out of restrictions would gradually reopen the state as daily new infection numbers fall.
Andrews has been fiercly criticised in previous weeks for his tough lockdown, with former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett calling him a “megalomaniac”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt put out a joint statement, saying the extension was “hard and crushing news” for the state.
The trio said that Victoria's contact tracing needed to be strengthened, explaining that's what helped NSW's outbreak.
“This is the way forward. Restrictions are not substitutes for strengthening health systems to cope with the virus, especially when community outbreak is brought under control,” they said.
“The most effective means of reducing community transmission must be an effective testing, tracing and quarantine system, bolstered by enhanced local health capacity and physical distancing. These are essential prerequisites to reduce the spread, save lives and manage the economic and job impacts.”
Host Peter Van Onselen brought this up to Andrews, who responded quickly.
“Oh, well you need to speak to the Prime Minister about the words he chooses in media releases, I spoke to him this morning before I made these announcements,” he told The Project's Peter Van Onselen.
“Our partnership is a very important one, there’s no time for politics in this.”
“Prime Ministers and Premiers need to be focused on the job at hand – and that’s not trying to interpret media releases, that’s working together as closely as we can to get this job done and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.