Australia More Melburnians defying lockdown rules this time around, data suggests

12:50  13 september  2021
12:50  13 september  2021 Source:   9news.com.au

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a group of people playing frisbee in a field: Police monitor a Melbourne park. © Nine Police monitor a Melbourne park.

The number of Melburnians defying lockdown restrictions is much higher than it was during lockdown last year, exclusive Google mobility data obtained by 9News has revealed.

Tracking data from Google has indicated non-essential shopping and recreation in Melton is only 21 per cent less than what it was pre-pandemic.

During the state's second wave of the virus last year that figure was down 40 per cent.

On the other side of Melbourne in Casey, non-essential shopping and recreation is just 27 per cent below normal levels.

Cardinia, where the rate is down 28 per cent, Hume, where it's down 29 per cent, and Whittlesea, where it's down 29 per cent, make up the rest of the top five LGAs where compliance with the CHO's stay-at-home orders is lowest.

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However, compliance is still similar to last year in the City of Melbourne, where non-essential shopping and recreation is 79 per cent lower than normal.

Similarly, Stonnington is down 61 per cent and Yarra has dropped 59 per cent.

The data also shows far more people from Melbourne's outer suburbs are heading into work than they were during lockdown in 2020.

map: Workplace attendance has increased during lockdown this year. © Nine Workplace attendance has increased during lockdown this year.

Workplace attendance in Cardinia is only down 17 per cent on normal times, compared to last year it dipped by more than double that - minus 38 percent.

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Casey is down 23 percent, whereas it was minus 40 per cent last year.

Simon Kuestenmacher, co-founder of The Demographics Group, said while the rates of compliance varied across Melbourne, they were still down right across the city.

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"Every corner of the city saw lower compliance rates in '21 compared to '20," he said.

"In those local government areas people tend to live in big family clusters. It's quite likely they're willing to forget a rule or two in order to see family."

The demographer said he believed the heavy restrictions imposed during the state's sixth lockdown may have actually contributed to the plunge in compliance.

"I do think the heavy-handed restrictions actually backfired," he said.

"People just got more afraid of the cure - the lockdowns - than the pandemic itself."

Kim Paynter from Cranbourne told 9News he had noticed fewer people were staying home, but said he understood people's frustration with lockdown.

"It's going too long," he said.

"It's just ridiculous - all the other states are getting open but we're not."

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