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.
‘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.
‘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.