26 March 2020
It’s been a tough week. The coming days, weeks and months may be tougher. Thank you Sydneysiders for looking after each other and checking on vulnerable people.
Many people have reached out to me to ensure there is support for people who are homeless and at risk; and am pleased that the Department of Communities and Justice and the City of Sydney are proactively planning for emergency accommodation and support for people who don’t have a home in which to self-isolate or recuperate.
I appreciate those of you who’ve contacted me with concerns and ideas for support and stimulus during this time; I’ve been feeding these comments back to minister’s or the Premier's offices or referring them to federal MPs if they come under Commonwealth Government control. Thank you to the NSW Government agencies and ministers for being so responsive to our requests.
This week I would like to make a special shout out to the team at St Vincent’s Hospital who are looking after so many people in need, including those infected with COVID-19, and for the planning they are doing to the virus impacts as they intensify. Make sure you thank any doctors, nurses or hospital for their extraordinary work at this difficult time.
Health advice is that people should stay home whenever possible, except for getting essentials like food and medicine. If people can work from home they should and parents are encouraged to keep their kids at home, but parents employed in essential services may need to bring their kids to schools. The latest advice and guidelines is HERE. If you develop flu like symptoms, call your GP or Health Direct on 1800 022 333. Don’t attend the hospital without checking – we don’t want to overload crisis services.
The State and Federal Governments are introducing new financial help for individuals, sole traders and businesses impacted by COVID-19. See: HERE.
New Emergency Laws
NSW Parliament sat for an emergency session on Tuesday to pass laws to allow for payroll tax relief, early access to long service leave, enable more official transactions online, allow for the delay of council elections by 12 months and for council meetings by phone. You can read my speeches on those bills HERE.
Supporting Local Business
Thank you to Sydneysiders for supporting local businesses during this difficult time. This week I was able to secure a regulatory change to allow bars and pubs to continue to operate by providing delivery and take-away food and alcohol. The SMH story is HERE
Remember, your favourite restaurants are now likely offering direct delivery and take-away. A growing list is on my website HERE. If your favourite restaurant isn’t listed make sure you call them as they may now be providing this service. Ask them to let me know and we will update the page.
Supporting social distancing rules, my office is no longer allowing personal visits, but you can still contact us by phone and email. Staff are working from home where possible so we don’t add to the risk of spreading COVID-19. I’ll continue to update you about changes.