Victoria’s top cop has lashed out at scores of partygoers who breached coronavirus restrictions over the weekend, including 40 “ignorant” rule-flouters at a short-term rental in Melbourne’s southwest.
Police Commissioner Shane Patton addressed reporters on Monday to reveal Victoria Police had issued 93 infringements of $1652 to people attending illegal gatherings over the weekend.
“It defies logic, it defies common-sense [and it’s] incredibly frustrating,” he said.
Mr Patton said short-term rentals had become a growing problem, with the fine for those attending illegal gatherings ramped up to just shy of $5,000 in a bid to tackle the issue.
Of at least 10 separate short-term rental parties, Mr Patton said one in Hoppers Crossing warranted 15 infringement notices.
“There were around 40 people there when we turned up. Several of them did a runner, some just dispersed,” he said.
“If we gave out the 15 infringements under the new guidelines, that would be a $75,000 party. That's a heck of a party.”
Mr Patton said some guests did whatever they could to evade officers.
“To turn up and see people jumping over fences, and the ignorance and the selfishness by then placing others at risk of the spread, it's unfathomable.”
Mr Patton said authorities were working with rental companies who have agreed to have a minimum stay of four days to try and tackle the problem.
He vowed to crack down on anyone continuing to flout the rules.
“You will get infringements issued to you and of $5000, you really need to seriously consider whether it is worth going to a party for $5000.”
Mr Patton said he wasn’t worried about the effects lifting the city’s curfew would have on illegal activity, insisting Victoria Police are well-equipped to crack down on a minority refusing to abide by restrictions.
Wyndham local government area, where Hoppers Crossing is located, currently has 56 active cases – the most of any LGA in Melbourne.
On Monday, the day Melbourne transitioned to Step Two of the roadmap, Victoria recorded just five new coronavirus cases.
It took Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average to 20.3. The city needs to lower that number below five to enter Step Three.
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