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Australia Brett Sutton defends Canberra trip

09:40  19 june  2021
09:40  19 june  2021 Source:   9news.com.au

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 02: Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton speaks to the media during a press conference on June 02, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Lockdown restrictions have been extended for another seven days as new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge linked to the current community cluster. residents can only leave home for five reasons: care and caregiving, exercise, work and to buy groceries, or to get vaccinated, but can now travel within a 10km radius from home. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images) © 2021 Getty Images Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton

Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has defended his decision to fly to Canberra for a work event while much of the state were still restricted from travel, saying it was necessary to attend in person.

Mr Sutton has been criticised this week by the Victorian Liberals, who said that although the trip did not break any official rules, it was setting a bad example.

"We can't have visitors, we can't have people coming to our own homes, and yet the chief health officer, who's providing advice to the government, buzzes off to Canberra to a glitzy award night," Liberal health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier told 9News on Thursday.

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a man standing in front of a building: Vic Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has defended his recent trip to Canberra. © 9News Vic Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has defended his recent trip to Canberra.


"I think it says a lot about the priorities of the Chief Health Officer and of the Andrews government."

While Mr Sutton defended his actions, he also expressed his regret, saying that he wished he had not been the focus of the event.


Video: Brett Sutton Canberra trip 'hypocritical': Victorian Shadow Health Minister (Sky News Australia)

"It was an event held over two days to honour medical researchers," he said.

"You can't really honour people for their fantastic research without being there in person."

"Maybe, if I could have my time again... I was disappointed that the distraction was about me and not about that important meeting."

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Acting Victoria Premier James Merlino also weighed in on the trip, labelling Mr Sutton's decision "appropriate".

"It is an appropriate work-related event for our Chief Health Officer within the rules that all Victorians abide by and I think it was appropriate," Mr Merlino said.

a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Liberal health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier has slammed the decision. © 9News Liberal health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier has slammed the decision.


"He is a member of the national body around medical research. He's entitled to go there."

"The Federal Health Minister says the criticism of the Victorian CHO was unfair in these circumstances."

Victoria's latest round of restrictions were reversed yesterday, with people now able to gather outside, and mask-wearing also no longer mandatory.

The state has recorded just one local case of COVID-19 in the last day, a close contact of a previously reported infection.

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