Victoria has recorded 116 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths, as Premier Daniel Andrews announced his government will seek to change laws so that Victoria’s state of emergency can be extended by another 12 months.

Under the state’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act, a state of emergency can only be declared for a consecutive period of six months.

Under the state of emergency, the Chief Health Officer is able to make legally enforceable directions in order to protect public health, such as quarantine rules, mask wearing and physical distancing.

Andrews said while the current state of emergency was due to end on 13 September, it was clear it would be needed well beyond that time.

“Whilst we’d all love this to be over by the 13th of September, which is when the Act says the state of emergency must end, that simply won’t be the case,” he said.

He said the government would be meeting with all parties “quite soon” and he hoped changes to the Act allowing for an 18-month state of emergency to be declared would be passed with widespread support.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the Coalition would not support the move, which he described as a “power grab”.

He said if any extension to the allowable duration of a state of emergency were needed, it should be shorter than 12 months.

The government has also announced it will publish more detailed local information on coronavirus cases and outbreaks on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website this afternoon.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the “dashboard” would contain active case numbers and deaths, details on aged care outbreaks and hospitalisations, as well as high-risk locations.

SOURCE-RADIO NZ

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