Vaccine passports flagged for regional Victoria

Michelle Slater

Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas has flagged that vaccine passports will be trialled in regional Victoria. photograph michelle slater

THE state government is looking to trial vaccine passports in parts of regional Victoria to allow people to attend outdoor events, Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas revealed today.

Ms Thomas said she had met with regional Victorian business leaders and local government representatives to discuss the concept this morning.

However, Ms Thomas was unable to confirm which regional areas would be a part of the trial.

“We are looking to roll-out vaccine trials in rural and regional Victoria, this is an exciting opportunity for regional Victoria,” Ms Thomas said.

“We know from talking to mayors this morning there will be many communities keen to put their hands up to be a part of these trials.”

Ms Thomas said state government agencies were working with interstate governments to design an app that could ease-in the trial.

But she stressed it was too early to give further details.

“It means we will bring technology together, we will be looking to use parts of regional Victoria to test whether we can bring people together in larger groups,” she said.

“People who have been vaccinated could go to outdoor events and then indeed further down the track to larger indoor events.”

Ms Thomas pointed to previous statements made by Premier Daniel Andrews around a “future much less about lockdowns and more about lock outs”.

She said the trial could allow people to get “parts of their old life back they’ve been missing out on”.

“This includes concerts, music, performances, art, and being amongst people again. Technology and vaccine passports will be a key to that.”

It comes as the Mr Andrews had flagged that regional-specific lockdowns could be applied if positive cases popped-up, instead of plunging the entire state into lockdown.

Public Health COVID-19 Response deputy secretary Nicole Brady said these targeted lockdowns would depend largely on the nature of individual cases.

“It’s about the stories about the cases, it depends on whether we know how the transmission occurred, the nature of the interaction that positive case had on the community, if at all,” Ms Brady said.

“There are a lot of different risks associated compared to a case that just pops up with no ability to understand where the transmission occurred or if that person was out and about.”