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Shorten slams PM over Victorian lockdown response

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten has taken a swipe at Scott Morrison over his reaction to Victoria’s roadmap out of harsh lockdown. Speaking on Today on Tuesday morning, he said there needed to be more focus on the state’s economic recovery – and the job could not fall squarely onto Premier Daniel Andrews’s shoulders.“I should…

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten has taken a swipe at Scott Morrison over his reaction to Victoria’s roadmap out of harsh lockdown.

Speaking on Today on Tuesday morning, he said there needed to be more focus on the state’s economic recovery – and the job could not fall squarely onto Premier Daniel Andrews’s shoulders.

“I should say, this isn‘t just Dan Andrews’s issue. I notice that the Prime Minister has taken on the role of commentator in-chief,” he said.

“I want to say to both the State and Federal Governments and thousands of small businesses in my electorate and thousands more across Victoria, if we need these restrictions, we need more support for small businesses.”

On Monday, Mr Morrison suggested the Victorian Premier needed to put more funding into supporting his state if the lockdown was to continue, claiming there would be a “wait and see” approach before the federal government committed to any further funding.

“Victorians are being supported more by the federal government than any other state and territory,’’ he said.

“I’ll be looking to see what they’ll be doing first before the Commonwealth considers any responses that we’ll be making.”

He said officials would be conducting a detailed analysis on the modelling used to determine the ‘road map’ out of lockdown that was released on Sunday, and his government would have “constructive feedback” for Mr Andrews.

Under the current road map, most of the state’s lockdown will stay in place until September 28, with restrictions gradually eased throughout the rest of the year if new cases met very strict, low numbers.

Mr Shorten said he wanted to see JobKeeper kept at its current rate while Victorian businesses were still unable to open, and “innovation” with tax on businesses to allow them to spread their losses over a period of three years to boost their recovery.

“In other words, if a small business made a profit the year before and makes a profit next year, maybe they could spread their losses over three years so they pay less tax,” he said.

The Melbourne MP said that decision had to be made by the Prime Minister, and said Mr Morrison should stop playing politics and get on board.

“Do notice that Mr Morrison has a lot to say from the relative cheap seats,” he said.

“The point is if you want to give small businesses tax relief, that is a Mr Morrison area.

“I would like to see all of the politics taken out of it for the duration of the pandemic. Perhaps rather than people throwing rocks at each other they work together.”

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