Leaders from across northern New South Wales have come together to try and protect the area from infected Sydney travellers.
The Tweed, Byron and Kempsey areas are now in a snap lockdown after an infected TV crew member from Sydney visited multiple locations against the conditions of her travel exemptions.
It’s prompted MPs from across the regions to ask the government to consider delaying travel to the area until the regions are at 70 per cent vaccination as well as the city.
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Sydney is due to have further restrictions eased once the population reaches 70 per cent double vaccination, which is expected to occur over the next couple of weeks.
However, the northern regions are lagging in vaccination rates themselves and risk being exposed if Sydneysiders are allowed to travel more freely.
It’s the first time that MPs have come together to write to the government in this capacity.
Chris Gulaptis MP, Ben Franklin MLC, Janelle Saffin MP, and Tamara Smith MP and Geoff Provest MP co-signed the letter which reads the following.
“We write to you as the NSW Members of Parliament representing the northern part of the state to urge you to consider our policy advice as different regions achieve the Government’s double dose COVID-19 vaccinations target of 70% at different times.
“It is indisputable that the Sydney region will reach the milestone some weeks before the North Coast. We don’t criticise the vaccination drive initially being concentrated on the metro areas that most needed it and we accept there has been less community urgency on the North Coast for the simple reason we have been infection-free.
“We are however really concerned that, without policy changes, our region will suddenly become deeply vulnerable to a major influx of newly freed Sydneysiders, while we are still short of the 70 per cent safety target. This apprehension is shared by the locally-based medical professionals we have consulted as well as with the broader community.
“We therefore ask you to adjust public health orders to prevent this happening, by restricting non-essential travel to the North Coast until it too has reached the milestone.
“This is not just good health policy, it also provides Sydneysiders with an opportunity to show courtesy and solidarity with us in the same way we did with them in their darkest hour by redirecting some of our vaccine supply to its HSC students. We cross-party MPs recognise that we are all in this together, and stand ready to brief you further on the situation,” the letter reads.