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Byron Shire
August 16, 2022

Local councils keep up pressure for Northern Rivers lockdown to be lifted

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There have been no COVID-19 cases recorded in the Northern Rivers since early August when three members of the same family, who allegedly travelled from Sydney to the region, tested positive for the virus.

Mayors from the Byron, Ballina, Tweed, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle councils are continuing to ask the NSW Government to lift the lock-down for the region at midnight on 10 September.

Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry. Photo supplied

‘Barilaro’s comments this morning seemed very positive that there are going to be movement on the lifting on the restrictions,’ Tweed Shire Mayor told The Echo.

Speaking on behalf of the mayors, Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon said that despite everyone’s fears that COVID-19 would spread through our communities this has not happened and with no more positive cases, and very random traces of the virus found in sewage in Ballina, Lennox Head and Byron Bay, everyone would like the NSW Government to lift the lockdown.

Byron Mayor Cr Michael Lyon.

‘Lifting the lockdown would allow our businesses to reopen, people to get back to work and our communities to reconnect,’ Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon said

‘While we are not experiencing anything remotely like the restrictions in parts of Sydney, our small businesses really are suffering and allowing them to trade again would be a huge boost to confidence across the Northern Rivers.

‘A blanket approach to the regions is not appropriate, particularly for border communities who have so many synergies with SE Qld,’ Mayor Lyon said.

It’s hoped a lift in the lock-down would also help in the border negotiations with the Queensland Government.

‘They did say that with us being in lockdown it didn’t make sense for them to open the border,’ said Mayor Cherry.

‘Hopefully if the lockdown lifts that we will see a shift in what Queensland is prepared to offer. Particularly in the case of the definition of essential workers –that would step forward.’

The Mayors are also asking the NSW Government to do more to protect the Northern Rivers region by tightening the rules that allow people to leave hot-spots like the greater Sydney area.

‘We have the situation where people are being allowed to leave Sydney to come to places like Byron Bay to film commercials, or televisions programs and that seems quite ludicrous when someone from the Lismore Local Government Area can’t go to a shop in Ballina or visit a friend in Casino,’ said Mayor Lyon.

‘Until things stabilise in Sydney and until we get our vaccination rates up we ask that travel outside of Sydney be limited to only the very essential, or for compassionate reasons,’ he said.

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  1. Much as I’d love to be out of lockdown, I’d really rather my local representatives leave these decisions to health and logistic experts.

    I’d suggest, business and political lobbying has overridden health advice too much in Sydney already – to the detriment of all of us.

  2. Thanks to all those local counncillors for speaking up on our behalf with a bit of common sense. . Of course it’s ludicrous to have film crews here from Sydney when locals in these close knit communities can’t visit each other. If we are still attempting to keep covid out of the northern rivers region , which given the lack of preparedness of our hospitals for a massive outbreak would seem to be a good plan , let’s not Invite Sydney film crews in .
    Would have thought that to be a “no brainer” . The trouble with common sense is that it is not very common in government leadership these days it seems.

  3. Our local representatives know what the statics and health concerns of the local area are. That is exactly why they are speaking up qnd making these requests.
    The situation is obviously very different in different areas and it makes no sense to treat all areas the same.
    I am proud of our local Mayors for speaking up. Mental health is as important as physical protection from the virus.
    People are suffering from the lockdowns.
    I know many members of my family are greatly suffering from the separation from family and the shutdown of business.
    Suicide rates have skyrocketed from lockdowns! More suicide deaths than covid deaths.
    Dig a little deeper than just looking at covid deaths ( which we have none of in the northern rivers) and you will quickly find other health concerns and education concerns , financial concerns having a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of lives.


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