Andrews in good spirits as return delayed

Premier Daniel Andrews is progressing well in a 'long and painful recovery' his deputy says.
Premier Daniel Andrews is progressing well in a 'long and painful recovery' his deputy says.

Victoria's premier Daniel Andrews' recovery from a fall is progressing well, despite his decision not to return to the job until at least June, his deputy says.

Mr Andrews suffered at least five broken ribs and an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra when he slipped on the steps of a holiday home on March 9.

The 48-year-old was released from hospital on March 15 and has been recovering at home since.

At the time he said he would require at least six weeks off to recover, which suggested a return late in April.

But Mr Andrews took to Twitter on Sunday to confirm he would miss the state's budget on May 20 and will instead return in June.

Deputy Premier James Merlino, who has been acting premier in his absence, said the delay was based purely on doctor's advice.

"You don't mess with a back injury," he told reporters on Monday, adding the premier was "very very lucky" to avoid permanent spinal damage in the fall.

Mr Merlino described Mr Andrews' recovery as "long" and "painful" but said he was progressing well.

"He's in good spirits. The positive thing out of the announcement yesterday is that Dan's got a clear path back to getting back on his feet and working full time as premier and that will occur in June," he said.

"In the meantime, every member of cabinet, every member of government is not wasting a day.

"We've been working on the state budget for the last few months, we'll be putting the final touches on it over the next few weeks."

Mr Merlino said he is in regular contact with Mr Andrews on important issues but, for the most part, he was leaving him to focus on his recovery.

"We need him fit and firing, ready to go when he's back in June."

On Sunday, Mr Andrews said he had been diligent with his physiotherapy and was now able to walk for an hour a day.

"A couple of weeks ago when I started daily walks, I could only manage about 15 minutes," he said.

Mr Andrews said while it was frustrating to be away from work, there was no alternative.

"You only get one chance to properly recover from serious injuries," he said.

"We just have to wait until the ribs and spinal fracture have properly healed."

As part of his recovery, Mr Andrews is undergoing regular physiotherapy sessions and is required to wear a brace at all times except when sleeping.

He thanked the health professionals involved in his recovery and all Victorians who had sent messages of love and support.

Australian Associated Press