Bunker down Barwon - or pay the fine
The message from NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller ‘you’re in lockdown wherever you live’ is loud and clear according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler.
“It’s time we in Barwon bunker down and live like coronavirus is in all of our communities, and we are at risk of catching it.
“We must act now as if it is in our community, act as if you have the virus and you don’t want to pass it on, act as if everyone else has the virus and you don’t want to get it,” said Mr Butler.
“I have had comments from people saying that they’ll change their behaviour once the virus has reached their town. That attitude isn’t good enough – we need to be changing our behaviour now.”
Commissioner Fuller's comments follow the enactment of the new NSW Public Health Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order which gives the NSW Police the power to fine people who leave their house without a ‘reasonable excuse’.
“The Police now have the power to fine people up to $11,000 or send them to prison for up to six months – for breaching the directive.
“The directive is simple – stay at home. Stay at home unless it is for one of the essential reasons in the order which cover getting supplies for home, going to work, attending medical appointments, shared custody pick-ups and drop-offs, seeking government assistance, legal obligations, school attendance, and exercising in your neighbourhood.
“I know these rules are difficult for some people to swallow, but it comes down to this – the virus doesn’t travel and spread, people travel and spread the virus. It is up to all of us to stop its spread.
“I have heard the calls from the Far West of the electorate to shut down their regions – this order now makes it very clear taking a holiday in a regional area is not a reasonable excuse.
“The only people in our communities should be those that live there, if people are in our communities from out of town they must have a legitimate reason for being there, if not they face fines.
“The only place to be complaining about people not following the rules is to NSW Police, Facebook commentary, or confronting a person yourself does not change people’s behaviour,” said Mr Butler.
“This is going to be a long road, we aren’t going to be out of the woods for many months, people need to make peace with this new temporary normal.
“My offices are there to help people adjust, and to answer people’s questions through this time. I would also encourage people to look at https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 this website contains all current information relating to coronavirus including the assistance on offer to individuals and businesses.”