Stern warning to hotspot residents using lockdown loophole

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Residents in Melbourne have been warned against trying to change their address in a devious scheme to avoid being bound by the month-long lockdown of 10 coronavirus hotspots.

A large number of people reportedly applied to change their address online following Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement that hotspots would be subject to another round of tough restrictions.

Mr Andrews announced the strict stay-at-home orders for the suburbs in the hotspot postcodes, which are predominantly northwest of Melbourne on Tuesday, which came into force at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Army staff arriving at a COVID-19 test site in Fawkner, Melbourne, on Wednesday. Source: Getty Images
Army staff arriving at a COVID-19 test site in Fawkner, Melbourne, on Wednesday. Source: Getty Images

Police out in force in check-point style operations in hotspot zones will be checking the address of drivers and ensuring their reasons for being on the roads are legitimate.

Following the influx of address change requests, the Victorian Department of Transport said it acted quickly and adapted processes to minimise the likelihood of fraudsters’ applications being approved.

“As soon as we were made aware of this issue we immediately put in place measures to ensure any changes of address in priority postcodes were for genuine reasons,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“We are reviewing all changes to licence holders’ addresses from priority postcodes since the premier’s restrictions announcement on Tuesday to ensure anyone who changed their address did so because it was necessary.”

They added it was the department’s “part to play” in the state’s fight against transmission of COVID-19.

A huge queue at a COVID-19 test site in Melbourne on Wednesday. Source: Getty Images
A huge queue at a COVID-19 test site in Melbourne on Wednesday. Source: Getty Images

Addresses can be changed online via VicRoads and applicants don’t need a new licence card to prove a change of location, because the department sends a sticker label to be attached to an existing one.

The department said it would continue to process online applications in favour of reverting to an old system which required applicants to attend a customer service centre.

The 10 Victorian postcodes in lockdown

  • 3012 - Brooklyn, Kingville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray

  • 3021 - Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans

  • 3032 - Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore

  • 3038 - Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Waterardens

  • 3042 - Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie

  • 3046 - Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park

  • 3047 - Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana

  • 3055 - Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West

  • 3060 - Fawkner

  • 3064 - Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo

People requesting a change of address from one of the 10 postcodes currently in lockdown will be asked to provide additional information so the government can substantiate their claims, the department said.

It is an offence for anyone to falsify official documents or lie to Victoria Police about their name or address when asked.

Lying or withholding information to Victoria Police about their name or place of residence face a maximum fine of up to $825.

Residents in hotpot zones are permitted to leave their homes for four reasons only - for work or school, for care or care giving, for daily exercise, or for food and other essentials.

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