Gladys Berejiklian lifts curfew on 12 Sydney LGAs of concern after ‘heated’ meeting with local mayors

By: Dominca Funnell

The curfew in the 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern will be lifted from Wednesday night just one day after the New South Wales Premier met with local mayors to discuss the harsh lockdown measure.

Under the curfew – which came into force on August 23 – residents in 12 LGAs deemed high risk were ordered to stay at home between 9pm and 5am in a bid to reduce community transmission of the virus.

Frustrated local leaders met with Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday where they called for the end to the curfew in hotspot areas and the relaxing of restrictions in line with the rest of Greater Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian announced the end to the curfew on Wednesday morning at a COVID-19 press conference, claiming the move was based on advice from NSW Health and police.

“This is a whole of government decision based on a number of factors,” she said.

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour welcomed the news via Twitter shortly after the Premier’s announcement on Wednesday.

“This comes just a day after meeting with her and other Mayors of locked down areas,” he wrote.

“I am grateful she has listened and show goodwill. A step in the right direction and I expect more will come.”

Mr Asfour – along with Cumberland Mayor Steve Christou and Burwood Mayor John Faker – earlier gave an insight into the local leaders’ “heated” meeting with Ms Berejiklian.

“I raised a number of issues on behalf of my community from pool closures, to business anger over check ins and curfews,” he said.

“The meeting got quite heated when the issue of people being discriminated against because of the area they live in was raised.

“The health advice was being questioned and it was suggested by (Fairfield) Mayor (Frank) Carbone that maybe the Government needed new health advice.”

Ms Berejiklian stressed at the press conference on Wednesday the NSW government couldn’t move on any other restrictions in place at the current time.

“We need everybody to hold the line. Please make sure that if you live in those local governments areas of concern that you’ll stick to every other rule that’s in place,” she said.

“We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel but we will have work to do.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant reiterated the Premier’s call to “hold the line” and increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake as cases begin to stabilise particularly in the 12 LGAs of concern.

“We have to make sure we drive home the declines we’re seeing so that we get to the lowest possible level of community transmission of COVID,” she said.

“I urge you to be one of the most highly vaccinated populations in the state.

“Yes you’ve achieved 80 percent in some of your local government areas, yes you’ve achieved 90 percent in some. I’m challenging you to even push further so please come out and get vaccinated.”

NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns earlier weighed in on the issue, telling Sky News Australia the “overwhelming message” from western and southwestern Sydney residents was to lift the curfew.

Mr. Minns highlighted the promises made by the Berejiklian government to the people of Sydney that freedoms would be restored if they got vaccinated.

“I would suggest they lift the curfew, ease some restrictions on the people that have done the right thing listened to their own government’s advice and got vaccinated at unprecedented rates,” he said on Wednesday morning.

“Restrictions need to be eased for all of us at the same time.

He pointed to suburbs or LGAs like Burwood which has recorded very low cases while “across the road” in the City of Sydney and Inner West Council infections rates were higher.

“So it doesn’t make sense to millions of people and it feels arbitrary for those that are living under that regime.”

NSW recorded 1,259 new COVID cases in the past 24 hours as the state hits its 80 per cent first dose vaccine threshold.

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