11 December 2020
In a year that has been arguably the most difficult for our young people, it is disappointing that the Victorian Government plans to chase down more than $3 million in COVID-19 fines issued to teenagers during the state’s lockdown, Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said.
Mr McDonald said young people had borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria, being disproportionately affected by the job losses in the hospitality and retail industries, isolated from their peers during remote learning, and will enter their adult lives in an economy burdened by unprecedented debt.
“Young people need to be shown some empathy during this seriously challenging year, as they’re already suffering the effects of living through this pandemic. During lockdown, significant behaviour change was required for all of us, and particularly for young people,” he said.
“Behaviour change with some young people takes time. For the vulnerable young people in Anglicare Victoria’s care, these kids have their own daily struggles with family violence or the youth justice system. They want to do the right thing, but it can take time to get the message through.
Approximately 2000 fines were issues to young people during COVID-19 restrictions. Mr McDonald said that given the exceptional circumstances, authorities should have given young people warnings instead of fines in the majority of cases.
“Many of the places that provide work and recreation for young people were closed during lockdown. A bit of compassion from the Victorian government will mean a lot for the young people and their families hit with fines they cannot afford,” he said.
“Premier Daniel Andrews showed remarkable leadership in managing that state out of the worst of the pandemic. I now urge the Victorian government to waive the fines for these young people and their families. It will go a long way towards helping these kids start the new year on a positive note.”