Police Minister on Queensland jaunt during sick leave
Police Minister Lisa Neville has been snapped in Port Douglas as she recuperates from a chronic health condition.
Less than three weeks after she temporarily stepped aside as the head of Victoria's suspended hotel quarantine program, Ms Neville was seen at Zinc restaurant in the northern Queensland resort town.
Ms Neville is travelling with fellow MP and good friend Harriet Shing, who is understood to be providing moral support.
She was discharged from hospital last week after a fortnight stay and has been ordered off work until May to avoid serious complications in her battle with Crohn's disease.
Doctors had warned that without a period of leave, Ms Neville faced the prospect of major bowel surgery and risked long-term consequences including to the quality and length of her life.
The decision to escape interstate has raised questions about whether the minister should have instead taken a break locally.
A spokeswoman for Ms Neville said she had been advised to reduce her stress levels and was undertaking significant treatment, including daily injections, intensive stress management and regular blood tests.
Further tests on her return to Melbourne will determine the need for major surgery.
"The clear advice from Ms Neville's doctors was that a period of three months' leave was required to avoid further complications from her Crohn's disease," she said.
"Those familiar with the disease will know that stress is one of the primary triggers for flare-ups, with rest and stress therapy key to managing Crohn's long-term."
The spokeswoman said Ms Neville had received clear advice indicating that her stress levels had a direct impact on the severity of her disease.
Acting ministers have been appointed to take responsibility for her portfolios of Police, Emergency Services and Water, as well as hotel quarantine.
A spokesman for the opposition said "Victorians will judge if it passes the pub test".
"The Victorian tourism industry has been smashed by Labor's continued lockdowns and snap border closures, so we encourage people to holiday in our great state and support local jobs," he said.
"The Labor government's botched hotel quarantine is still on hold with millions being wasted on staffing empty hotels because they just can't get it right.
"Victorians deserve a government focused on rebuilding our state from the ashes of three lockdowns."
Danny Pearson, Acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services, said Ms Neville was "one of the most well-respected, hardworking members of this government".
"Stepping into her shoes has once again shown me just how much she carries on a daily basis," he said.
"Managing stress is crucial to managing Crohn's - she deserves to be able to rest and recover so she can get on top of the disease."
Minister Neville remains on leave until May on doctors' orders.
Originally published as Neville on Queensland jaunt during sick leave