By Mitchell Clarke
Local footy fans have been put on notice – Grand Final Day parties can not go ahead, despite the day being one of the most traditional celebrations on the Australian calendar.
Victoria Police have vowed to throw all policing resources at the historically iconic day, with drones and helicopters taking to the sky to monitor crowd behaviour.
But those drones won’t be hovering over private backyards like first thought, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius confirmed.
He said the use of drones and helicopters provided “situational awareness”, particularly at public places where crowds tend to gather.
“They give real time appreciation of crowd numbers, crowd behaviour and it allows us to adopt police tactics to ensure what’s happening at that location remains Covid safe,” he said.
“We are not going to have drones hovering over pizza ovens in people’s backyards … That’s ridiculous.”
He said the force would, however, be doing everything to ensure people were celebrating in line with current restrictions, meaning suburban backyard parties were strictly off limits.
“We police to the directions the Chief Health Officer has provided to everyone across Victoria … All of our policing capabilities will be deployed in support of community safety,” A/C Cornelius said.
“Every year the grand final, quite rightly, brings lots of people together. The temptation and the desire for people to get together to celebrate such an iconic occasion is just so tempting.
“Here we are, in our own last quarter, we can see the finish line in sight and we just need to hold the line.”
But Liberal Gembrook MP Brad Battin, a Geelong fan, said the day would lose its natural feel.
“I love being with my family but Grand Final Day is about people, it’s about getting together with friends whether it’s your team or not, and we’ve been doing it forever,” he said.
Mr Battin earlier said the use of drones to “spy and catch” people watching the game was “the most un-Australian act”.
He said a “simple fix” would be to allow people to spend the day at home with one other family.
“This year while we celebrate the achievements of the AFL to go forward with the season, we see the most un-Australian act by the State Labor Government,” he said.
“It would be funny if not so serious. This is the biggest threat to your privacy I have ever seen, and for what – a beer with a mate.
“It is outrageous the Labor Premier is threatening all Victorians in their home after his Crisis Cabinet approved 1200 to go to the races.
“I don’t say to anyone break the rules, but I will never support them. Imagine if Daniel Andrews was this hard-line when we saw a 100 per cent increase in crime over five years at Fountain Gate.”