The mayor of a coronavirus hotspot in south-western Sydney said there “were disagreements” during a video conference with the NSW Premier over lockdown restrictions.
Fairfield’s Frank Carbone was one of 12 mayors who took part in the call with Gladys Berejiklian yesterday, pleading for the tough rules to be eased across the west and south-west.
“If we agreed on things, we wouldn’t be it a meeting,” Mr Carbone told Today.
“There is going to be disagreements. I can tell you that at the end of the day, as mayors, we’re here to represent the voices of the community and we did that.
“We’re not here to follow the political advice but to follow the community advice. And there were disagreements.”
One of the issues at the centre of the talks was the reopening of public pools, something the leaders want to see happen as the weather warms up.
There had been accusations of “double standards” and “hypocrisy” over how residents in hotspot suburbs were being treated during lockdown after scenes of packed beaches and parks across Sydney’s east at the weekend.
Mr Carbone said there were “no promises” from the premier about the reopening of aquatic centres.
“Yesterday we had 300 cases in the Sydney region. Every LGA is of concern. We need to make sure we break down this divide, we unite people and we start working together,” Mr Carbone said.
“Sure, we have cases out here in western Sydney. But when people here in western Sydney see people being treated differently, they are lying on a beach whilst we can’t even go outdoors for exercise without a mask on, people have a right to be frustrated.”
He told the premier about an elderly couple who had been fined for going to the shops, while calling out the lack of police moving crowds away from the packed beaches.
“Something needs to be changed. This divide needs to be taken down. This wall needs to be taken down. We need to be united against this. There are too many different rules in different suburbs. We have helicopters and police on horseback, while only a few kilometres away, where they have 300 cases a day, they do not,” he said.
“If it’s safe to lay on a beach with thousands of people, it’s safe enough for people in western Sydney to take a stroll outside, without having to wear a mask.”
He pointed to high vaccination rates in western Sydney, with Blacktown reaching more than 90 per cent first dose, Cumberland 82 per cent, Fairfield 81 per cent, Parramatta 85 per cent, while in the City of Sydney just 65 per cent have had one dose.
“If vaccination is the path to freedom, in Fairfield we have 80 per cent of first dose rates, they are higher than Sydney. Why shouldn’t people are the right to freedom? We need to talk about a way forward.”
But new modelling from the Burnet Institute released yesterday found tough lockdown rules, and not increasing vaccination rates, had the greatest impact on slowing the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant in hotspot areas.
“I can assure you in western Sydney we breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide the same way that they do it in the eastern suburbs.
“Lockdowns have their places. They keep us locked down for the short-term. But they are aren’t sustainable.”Internet Explorer Channel Network