Melbourne business owner seeking Liberal preselection launches curfew court challenge

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A cafe owner who says she fears she will lose her home because her business has been left struggling under Melbourne’s strict lockdown measures has launched legal action in Victoria’s Supreme Court, challenging the city’s contentious curfew.

Michelle Loielo, 41, claims her business in Capel Sound, on the Mornington Peninsula, has been put under “significant pressure” due to Victoria’s stage four restrictions, which were put in place to control the state’s second surge of infections.

Ms Loielo, who has flagged her intention to run for Liberal Party preselection at the next state election, launched the legal action for the city’s curfew to be declared “unlawful and invalid”.

Ms Loielo said since the tough new measures were instituted, her business, which once turned over up to $20,000 a week, had been whittled away.

“Last week, I made $400,” she said in an affidavit to the court.

The Frankston South woman said the curfew had made her feel helpless.

“I am genuinely concerned that I am not going to be able to provide for my children if this situation continues,” she said.

“I am afraid that I will lose my house,” she said.

Lockdown measures left family in ‘unbearable’ situation

On Monday, lawyers for Ms Loielo filed a motion in the Supreme Court against Michelle Giles, who is Victoria’s Deputy Public Health Commander.

In the documents, Ms Loielo’s legal team claims that Victoria’s contentious curfew, which was only extended to 9:00pm yesterday, is “unlawful and invalid”.

They claim that the curfew is not “reasonably proportionate” and that public health officials behind the lockdown failed to take into account the “social and psychological impact” of the measure and their client’s human rights.

Ms Loielo is being represented by a team led by Marcus Clarke QC, who was reported to have given expert advice to Victoria’s Opposition over the legality of the Government’s attempts to extend its emergency powers.

Ms Loielo said that Victoria’s lockdown measures had left her reeling and described her situation as “unbearable”.

“Having to home school my children, attend to running the restaurant and being prevented from seeing family and friends has placed me under significant strain to a degree that I struggle to put into words,” she said.

“I have had moments when I have been unsure as to whether I will be able to continue to work and provide for my children,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Premier Daniel Andrews directed queries to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The department has been contacted for comment.

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