Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery is calling on the NSW Government to rethink its decision not to exclude construction workers from Sydney from travelling to work on Newcastle building sites.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced, at the weekend, a halt on all construction across Greater Sydney, due to the risk of COVID-19 spreading across work sites.
This meant shutting down major building projects to help curb the spread of the virus.
At the same time, the government refused to stop these same workers from travelling to the Hunter and large developments throughout the Wallsend electorate.
Late on Sunday afternoon (18 July), the Premier’s office issued interim advice to allow employees from Greater Sydney to work in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, despite those fears of COVID transmission.
Further, because the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie LGAs are less than 50km from the edge of the Greater Sydney area, which includes the Central Coast, they are not required to undergo weekly testing.
“The government needs to urgently reconsider this decision to allow these workers to travel,” Ms Hornery said.
“If they pose a risk on sites in Greater Sydney, they pose a risk on sites in regional NSW, including in Newcastle.
“The Newcastle LGA has been COVID-19 free for almost 12 months and one single case would have a catastrophic impact on the local economy.”
Ms Hornery said many local businesses were doing it tough with the current restrictions.
“Some are being forced to close their doors for good, and others hanging on by a thread,” she stated.
“Until the Greater Sydney restrictions ease, local sites should be using local workers.
“The risk to the fragile local economy by bringing in workers from Greater Sydney is too great.
“Greater Sydney residents can’t come here to see friends or socialise because the risk of spreading COVID-19 is too great, so why should they be allowed to come and work?
“The government must urgently reconsider its decision.”
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