Quarantine rules cause local MP to skip parliament

GIPPSLAND MHR Darren Chester won’t attend the next sitting week of federal parliament because of ACT quarantine requirements.

Victorian federal MPs have been required to quarantine at home or in the ACT for two weeks before the next round of parliamentary sittings begins August 24.

Mr Chester said he could achieve more for the community and fulfil his ministry roles better while still based in Gippsland.

“My decision was not an easy one but on balance, the need to maintain momentum on east Gippsland bushfire recovery, support all Gippsland communities dealing with coronavirus issues, and stay personally in touch with local issues during these unprecedented times, convinced me to stay in Gippsland this week, rather than enter self-quarantine in Canberra,” Mr Chester said.

“With the 75th anniversary commemoration of the end of World War 2 on August 15, I have several existing public commitments this week which would be difficult to fulfil in quarantine.

As the responsible minister, it is important that I help tell the stories of the surviving veterans as our nation says ‘thank you for your service’.”

Mr Chester is the Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister.

While his offices in Sale and Traralgon are both under state three coronavirus restrictions, Mr Chester said he and his staff were available to help people with federal government issues.

“I’m continuing my electorate and ministerial responsibilities utilising communication technology and limited travel within Gippsland,” he said.

“I am in touch with my ministerial staff in Melbourne and Canberra, along with departmental officials on a daily basis, as we collectively manage portfolio issues in the lead up to the 2020-21 budget.”