Melbourne’s controversial lockdown curfew was brought in with no input from Victoria Police, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton says.
He said the first they were aware of the measure was when the state government sent them a copy of the guidelines only a couple of hours before they were approved.
Victoria had another seven deaths on Thursday, but new cases dropped to 51.
The 14-day new case averages that are crucial to the government’s controversial roadmap out of restrictions also have dropped to 70.1 to Melbourne and 4.5 for regional Victoria.
The curfew has become another issue for the Andrews government, which is under fire for the state’s second coronavirus wave.
“The reality is, I was never consulted,” Mr Patton told 3AW.
“As best as I can work out, our policy area was provided a copy of the proposed guidelines … a couple of hours before they were signed off.
“We had never requested a curfew.”
Premier Daniel Andrews remains unrepentant about the curfew, saying it was ultimately his decision and it is working.
“I’ve tried to be frank and acknowledge the fact that it perhaps has a meaning that goes beyond the practical effect that it has,” Mr Andrews said.
“This is the right decision, it is limiting movement, it is making the very challenging work of Victoria Police just that little bit easier.
“And on that basis, limit movement, limit the virus.”
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said this week it was not his call to introduce the curfew, which started on August 2 when the state of disaster was declared and Melbourne went into its stage-four lockdown.
Again, Mr Andrews has doubled down on the decision to introduce the curfew.
“The notion that the government can’t do anything whatsoever unless the chief health officer provides it in detailed advice, that doesn’t make any sense,” the premier said.
The curfew will be eased back by an hour as of next Monday, starting at 9pm instead of 8pm and ending at 5am.
According to the government’s roadmap announced on Sunday, it will not end until October 26 at the earliest.
Thursday’s seven fatalities took the state toll to 701 and the national figure to 788.
Mr Andrews insists his roadmap is the only path out as he continues to cop flak over the plan.
There is no set date yet for when regional restrictions will ease.
The premier has reiterated that restrictions could be eased quicker depending on case numbers.
That would allow footpaths and parks to be transformed in the coming months to open-air dining and drinking areas, mitigating the risk of business outbreaks.