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Victorian cafe owner files lawsuit against lockdowns

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A cafe owner has launched legal action against Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions, while a class action has been lodged by a man claiming lost income and anxiety.

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Mornington Peninsula cafe owner Michelle Loielo filed a suit in Victoria’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying she has lost 99 per cent of her business under the state’s stage four restrictions.

Second wave restrictions have been in place since July 2, but an 8pm to 5am curfew was introduced on August 2 and eased back to 9pm on Monday.

A class action, led by 21-year-old Jordan Roberts, was also filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking damages for lost income, nervous shock, depression and anxiety.

Filed by Melbourne lawyer Tony Carbone, it alleges defendants, including ministers Jenny Mikakos and Martin Pakula, breached a duty of care owed to the community through failures in the hotel quarantine program.

Carbone told AAP more than 20 people are officially signed on but he expects the number to “swell enormously”.

“A lot of employers speaking to me are keeping employees on artificially because of JobKeeper and the reality is when JobKeeper kicks out, I just think the number of people made redundant or retrenched will be horrendous,” he said.

Carbone is running separate class actions over coronavirus outbreaks at the St Basils and Epping Gardens aged care homes.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will hold a hearing in Loielo’s action on Wednesday afternoon.

Her claim, supported by Victoria’s opposition, seeks to scrap the curfew.

The widowed mother of three – who last month flagged plans to seek pre-selection for the Liberal Party – says the curfew violates her human rights.

She says her Capel Sound cafe used to bring in up to $20,000 a week but last week she made just $400, leaving her fearful of losing her house.

“This situation troubles me greatly, as I am the sole financial provider for my three children and I am genuinely concerned that I am not going to be able to provide for my children if this situation continues,” she said.

In a post on her restaurant website on August 8, Loielo said the industry had taken an “absolute beating” in 2020 and she had had to remodel, reshuffle and rethink everything to do with her business.

“To this end, I have become heavily involved in local politics and discussions and am even taking a crack at being preselected to run for the next state election in the seat of Nepean for the Liberal Party,” she wrote.

Court documents, filed by Marcus Clarke QC, argue the curfew direction is invalid on grounds of irrationality and illogicality.

-with AAP

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