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Aussie bar owner challenges legality of state imposed Covid-19 lockdown

SYDNEY (Oct 12): An Australian hotelier revealed he would launch legal proceedings against the state government of Victoria over a Covid-19 lockdown which has continued for several months, Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) reported Monday.

The plaintiff, Julian Gerner, who was expected to lodge his case with the High Court of Australia, today, owns a bar and restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula, south of capital city Melbourne.

Gerner alleged in a statement to Fairfax media that existing lockdowns imposed in Victoria are "unnecessary" and deny the "basic freedoms as Australian citizens under our Federal Constitution, including our right to freedom of movement".

Under current lockdown regulations introduced in Victoria to combat a second wave of infections, residents aren't allowed to travel more than 5km from their homes and are largely required to remain indoors other than for approved work and study or to shop for essential items.

"This is not what we signed up for and is inconsistent with a free society, representative democratic government and civilised living. Aggressive and heavy-handed enforcement of these restrictions has also alarmed most fair-minded people," Gerner said.

Xinhua said on Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews extended an existing state of emergency for a further four weeks and warned that restrictions would not be rolled back as completely as people hoped this week, despite case numbers being relatively low.

Victoria recorded 15 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, down from over 700 cases per day at the beginning of August. 

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