A controversial virus measure comes to an end in Sydney today, but questions about the double standards at play across the city are mounting.
Burwood, 12 kilometers west of Sydney City Hall, has an average of five Covid-19 cases per day.
More than 20 other local government areas (LGAs) have more daily cases than Burwood; New South Wales prisons have more infections every day than those in Burwood.
However, Burwood remains one of the 12 “LGAs of interest” where restrictions are stricter.
If you were to travel the 12 kilometers from Burwood to Sydney City Hall, you would find yourself in the grand and imposing Sydney City Hall House. It’s not an LGA of interest, but it averages 62 cases in seven days, more than ten times Burwood’s number and the sixth highest in the entire state.
In fact, six of the 12 LGAs of interest currently have fewer cases per day than the CBD LGA, which is apparently of little concern.
And it’s becoming a problem for New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who finds it harder to justify why the rules are stricter in some areas with little Covid in circulation than in those where cases have improved.
Today, the Prime Minister threw a bone at 12 LGA by abandoning the controversial curfew that only covered these councils.
She said it was a “token of appreciation” for the 2.5 million residents in the west and southwest of the capital of New South Wales.
“Pleasantly, after receiving advice from both the police and health, given that we have reached 80 percent [first vaccination dose] Across the state, we can lift the curfew in those areas of concern starting tonight, ”Ms. Berejiklian told reporters.
“Compliance is improving in many areas where perhaps it was not before, plus the health advice on mental health challenges and the risks of not giving people some relief, all of that was balanced and balanced over the years. some time” .
What the prime minister failed to announce, despite repeated pleas from mayors and residents in those 12 LGAs, was when the other restrictions in place there would be relaxed in line with the rest of Greater Sydney. And so the great blockade division of the city continues.
Rules that make it difficult to let LGAs work; rules that mean you can only exercise with your home and requirements for some workers to be tested regardless of symptoms. Everything that does not apply in other LGAs.
‘For no logical reason’
Speaking to news.com.au Parramatta MP Geoff Lee, whose local LGA is also cause for concern, but where cases are declining, said it was unfair to group all suburbs together.
“There is no logical reason why they should be treated in the same way as the suburbs in high-covidity areas,” he said.
“The areas in the north and east (of Parramatta LGA) have a low incidence. People rightly say, and I agree with them, why are we still locked up? “
The mayors of the 12 LGAs have met with the Premier. But his pleas, for the moment at least, are falling on deaf ears.
“I want to send this strong message,” Berejiklian said on Wednesday.
“We cannot go ahead with anything else at this time. We need everyone to hold the line. Make sure that if you live in those local government interest areas, you comply with all other applicable rules.
“We have seen a stabilization in the last few days and we do not want that trend to go the wrong way. We still have work to do. “
Health Director Kerry Chant also confirmed that there had been some “stabilization” and “recession” in “the general pattern of illness” in those communities.
But, “we have to continue to comply with public health orders,” Dr. Chant said, echoing the prime minister’s words.
“We have to stay with that. We have to make sure we take home the declines we are seeing to get to the lowest hospital level of Covid transmission, “he added.
“I urge you to be one of the most vaccinated populations in the state. Yes, you have achieved 80 percent in some of your local government areas. Yes, it has achieved 90 percent in some. I challenge you to keep going. ”
New South Wales opposition leader Chris Minns urged Ms Berejiklian to “ease some restrictions on people who have done the right thing, listened to the advice of their own government, and been vaccinated at an unprecedented rate. precedents “.
“The restrictions must be lowered for everyone at the same time,” he said. Sky News Australia, specifically targeting Burwood, which has few cases but severe restrictions, while “across the street” in the city of Sydney and the Inner West Council, infection rates were higher (and vaccination rates lower ).
“So it doesn’t make sense for millions of people and it feels arbitrary for those who live under that regime.”
“Yesterday we had 300 cases in the Sydney region. Every LGA is cause for concern, ”said Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone, one of 12 mayors who spoke with the prime minister. Today Show.
“We need to make sure we break this divide, bring people together and start working together.
“Sure, we have cases here in West Sydney. But when people here in West Sydney see that people are being treated differently, they are laying on a beach (in Bondi) while we can’t even go out to exercise without a mask. People have a right to be frustrated. ”
Carbone said that “something has to change.”
“This division must be eliminated. This wall needs to be torn down. We need to be united against this. There are too many different rules in different suburbs, ”he added.
“We have helicopters and police on horseback, while a few kilometers away, where they have 300 cases a day, they don’t.
“If it’s safe to lie on a beach with thousands of people, it’s safe enough for people in western Sydney to take a walk outside, without having to wear a mask.”
If, as the prime minister, state leaders and health experts have insisted, “vaccination is the way to freedom, in Fairfield we have 80 percent of the first dose rates, they are higher than in Sydney”, said the mayor.
“Why shouldn’t people have the right to freedom? We need to talk about a way forward, ”he said.
“I can assure you that in western Sydney we breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide in the same way that they do in the eastern suburbs.
“The confinements have their place. They keep us locked up in the short term. But they are not sustainable. ”