News State Victoria News Website crashes as Victorian workers seek permit

Website crashes as Victorian workers seek permit

Essential workers are rushing to apply for a permit to travel outside of Victoria's curfew. Photo: AAP
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A Victorian government website crashed as workers rush to apply for a permit to be able to travel outside of coronavirus restrictions.

From Thursday, all essential workers in metropolitan Melbourne will be required to show the two-page permit if pulled over by police to prove they are allowed to go to work, including during curfew hours and outside of a 5km radius away from their homes.

Some workers – like nurses and police officers – can use their official identification, while others have to apply for the permit online, which must be signed by themselves and their employer.

Businesses caught issuing permits to workers who do not meet the requirements face fines of up to $99,123, while individuals can be fined up to $19,826.

The Department of Justice website crashed on Wednesday morning but a spokeswoman said the permit can be accessed via the Victorian government and Business Victoria websites.

The Justice website was running again by 10am.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed three of Victoria’s poorest communities copped 10 per cent of the state’s fines for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Residents in the Central Goldfields Shire and the cities of Brimbank and Greater Dandenong got 529 fines by police during the first two months of restrictions, a parliamentary COVID-19 inquiry found.

In contrast, Victoria’s three most advantaged communities – Bayside, Boroondara and Nillumbik Shire – accounted for 1.9 per cent of fines in the same period.

The inquiry’s interim report found some 5604 fines were issued to May 17, totalling $8 million dollars, though some are under review.

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison told anti-maskers who think they are above the law amid the health crisis to “get real”.

A 26-year-old policewoman had her head repeatedly smashed into concrete paving by a woman who refused to wear a mask on Monday night.

The 38-year-old Frankston woman was fined $200 for refusing to wear a mask, charged with multiple offences and released on bail to face court in March 2021.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said officers are regularly dealing with people claiming they are “sovereign citizens” who think they don’t have to follow the rules.

“It’s just about them, it’s actually an arrogant approach. We won’t stand for it,” he told Nine’s Today program on Wednesday.

The prime minister agreed.

“Get real. This is a difficult time for everybody, I know people are angry and frustrated,” Mr Morrison told Seven’s Sunrise program.

“It is not unreasonable to wear a mask, not unreasonable to do the most basic things around distancing.”
Wearing a mask while outdoors in metropolitan Melbourne has been mandatory since July 22 and in regional Victoria since Sunday.

Metropolitan Melbourne is currently under an 8pm to 5am curfew.

The state government is expected to make announcements on mental health support on Wednesday to help people struggling with the new stage four lockdown, which won’t end until mid-September.

Widespread business shutdowns across the retail, manufacturing and construction industries are expected to impact the livelihoods of at least 250,000 Victorians.

They will join another 250,000 stood down since the pandemic began and another 500,000 working from home, likely placing a greater burden on mental health services.

Victoria recorded 439 new cases and 11 more deaths on Tuesday – all of the deaths were connected to aged care.