Travel to regional NSW from Sydney likely to be pushed back to November

James HallNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Gladys Berejiklian will likely push back the date Sydneysiders can travel to the state’s regions to November, according to a NSW cabinet minister.

As state leaders remain reluctant to open borders until vaccine rates surpass 80 per cent coverage, the prospect of cooped up city residents being given the opportunity to travel across the state was an appealing prospect.

But Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello revealed on breakfast television the premier intends to announce later on Monday morning this date has been pushed to later in the year.

“I think the Premier said in November. We’re looking at November,” he told Today.

“But she's going to make more announcements about that today. So, you know, we need just hold the line because we’ve done so well to date. We don’t want to lose momentum.”

BEACH PICNICS
Camera IconSydneysiders may be stuck in the city for longer than was originally promised. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

More than 60 per cent of the eligible NSW population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as Mr Dominello urged the state to forge ahead with the jab rollout.

“We’ll be world leaders on this and we will have family and friends from overseas for Christmas, we’ll be able to travel overseas for Christmas, but we just need to hold the line when it comes to (regional) NSW to make sure we get the right outcome,” he said.

Opportunities to travel across the state were plunged into doubt last week when a bloc of five North Coast MPs broke with party lines in a bid to protect the area from Sydneysiders.

The group of Nationals, Labor, and Greens representatives on Thursday night sent a letter to Ms Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro to ask Sydney residents – who will reach the state’s 70 per cent double vaccination target long before the North Coast does – be prevented from travelling there.

PREMIER PRESSER
Camera IconNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to make further announcements on Monday. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

The letter was signed by Nationals MPs Geoff Provost and Chris Gulaptis as well as Nationals Northern Rivers MLC Ben Franklin, with Labor MP Janelle Saffin and Greens MP Tamara Smith also adding their names.

Together the group represents an area stretching 215 kilometres from the Queensland border at Tweed Heads down to Grafton.

“We don’t criticise the vaccination drive initially being concentrated on the major metro areas that most needed it and we accept that there has been less community urgency on the North Coast for the simple reason we have been infection free,” the letter says.

“We are however really concerned that, without policy changes, our region will suddenly become deeply vulnerable to a major influx of newly freed Sydneysiders, while we are still short of the 70 per cent safety target.”

Originally published as Travel to regional NSW from Sydney likely to be pushed back to November

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