Jim's Mowing owner Jim Penman says stage 4 lockdown has hit his employees and contractors hard. Picture: Jason Edwards
Jim's Mowing owner Jim Penman says stage 4 lockdown has hit his employees and contractors hard. Picture: Jason Edwards

‘Stupidity’: Jim’s Mowing to sue for millions

Jim's Mowing founder Jim Penman says his Victorian contractors financially affected by Melbourne's strict second lockdown could sue the State Government for $7 million.

Mr Penman told NCA NewsWire about 615 contractors across the state were losing about $3000 a week since the Premier's controversial workplace restrictions prevented cleaners and gardeners from working.

"We have repeatedly asked the Premier for hard evidence that what my company does contributes in any way to the spread of coronavirus and we have received nothing, just that his decision is based on health advice from experts, but that's not hard evidence," he said.

"Council workers are doing the same job, and in groups, yet my company and contractors are being prevented from earning a living - there is absolutely a legitimate claim for compensation here.

"I'm not happy taxpayers will have to pay once we proceed legally, but my workers are being denied a chance to work, earn a living, pay taxes and contribute to the economy as a result of this lunacy - it's basically $7 million bank-carded out of the Victorian economy."

Jim Penman can’t understand why his workers are prevented from going to work while council workers who do the same job are permitted to work during stage 4 lockdown.
Jim Penman can’t understand why his workers are prevented from going to work while council workers who do the same job are permitted to work during stage 4 lockdown.

 

The lawn-mowing magnate said he had offered to pay for "top legal advice", which he would then hand down to his hundreds of contractors who were seeking financial compensation.

"I used to support Daniel Andrews and what he was doing," Mr Penman said.

"I would get on Facebook live each week and encourage people to wear masks, to download the COVIDSafe app as I am apart of a franchise and had the avenue to do that. But this stupidity has gone on long enough."

Last week Mr Penman wrote a letter to every Victoria crossbench politician as parliament votes on Tuesday on the Premier's controversial Bill to extend Victoria's state of emergency by another 12 months.

"You are our only hope," he wrote.

"People's lives are destroyed and the great state of Victoria plunged into a ruin that will take decades to heal. You represent the will of the people and are custodians of the Victorian parliament and this state's laws. I am urging you to stand up for us.

"Tens of thousands of Victorians have the right to fair compensation under the Public Health and Welling Being Act 2008 because they have been thrown out of work for no good reason. If refused, they have the right to appeal to VCAT. It is vital that no changes are made to this Act to prevent people getting what they deserve. This is not welfare for millionaires. I personally will not make a cent out of it. It is justice for vulnerable people who have no voice. It is the essence of democracy."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says Victorians can expect details on a road map out of stage 4 lockdown on September 6. Picture: David Crosling/NCA NewsWire
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says Victorians can expect details on a road map out of stage 4 lockdown on September 6. Picture: David Crosling/NCA NewsWire

Premier Daniel Andrews has continually implored the harsh restrictions are there to safeguard Victorians from future outbreaks.

On Monday he said Melburnians would need to wait another week for details on a "road map" out of stage 4 lockdown, with an announcement to come on September 6.

"It is too early today to settle that road map and to lock that in as it were," he said.

"Another week's data is critically important to make sure that the strategy continues to work and for us to have a better sense of how long it will take to drive these numbers down to very, very low numbers so that they can be contained uncontrolled without the need to put restrictions back on over not just weeks and months but over a longer period, finding that COVID-19 normal and looking at in for many months."

Victoria recorded 73 new infections overnight and its highest daily death toll, with 41 lives lost.

It is the highest number of deaths in a single day in Victoria with the previous record of 25 deaths recorded on August 17.



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