Turns Out Gladys Berejiklian Ignored Kerry Chant’s Advice For A “Consistent” Lockdown In Sydney

The NSW Government has been accused of 'splitting' Sydney in two by targeting the West with harsher lockdown restrictions.

Kerry Chant Lockdown

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The NSW Government has been accused of ignoring health advice from Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant to avoid singling out Western Sydney in its attempt to curb the Delta variant back in June.

For months, former Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard imposed tougher restrictions on the area during an extended lockdown that started from a cluster more than 30 kilometres away in Bondi.

According to emails seen by the Sydney Morning Herald, Kerry Chant recommended the same restrictions be enforced across the city back in August. “Implement consistent measures across greater metropolitan Sydney with outdoor masks, consistent 5km rule, and authorised workers only,” she wrote.

Despite this, Berejiklian continually maintained at the time that her choices were centred around the “health advice” — a factual dispute that NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns has called her out on this week.

“These revelations show they ignored health advice and left Sydney’s West and South-West under tougher restrictions, when it is clear consistency should have been applied across the whole of Greater Sydney,” said Minns.

“Some of the harshest restrictions the country has seen were imposed on Western Sydney communities,” he said. “The government with [current Premier] Dominic Perrottet front and centre split Sydney in two, when there should not have been a divide.”

Local Government Areas of concern in the West and South-West were subject to curfews, mandatory masks outdoors, limited exercise time, restricted capacity to work, and routine COVID tests, in an area with a high number of low socio-economic and culturally diverse residents. Double standards were routinely called out after a hefty police and military presence were deployed to affected suburbs.

“Our people are one of the poorest demographics, and as it is, they already feel picked on and marginalised,” Cumberland City Council Mayor Steve Christou said in July.

Two months later, Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour claimed there were “two cities” emerging, after mourners at an outdoor funeral in Western Sydney were arrested, while hundreds flocked unmasked to beaches in the Eastern Suburbs with not so much as a slap on the wrist the same weekend.

“We are by no means out of the woods with COVID, but the decisions taken by the NSW Government to date have helped keep the community safe, maintain public health, ensure our hospital system continues to operate effectively, keep businesses in business and people in jobs,” a state government spokesperson told the SMH.