Struggles left unheard

Struggles left unheard

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Penrith City Council is appealing to the Premier, The Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, to meet with Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM and the mayors of the other COVID impacted Western Sydney councils after a request from Local Government NSW was declined late this afternoon.

The request to meet with the Premier was to directly discuss the challenges and issues facing the impacted Western Sydney communities. The Premier’s Office’s suggestion that the request is more suited to a meeting with the Office of Local Government NSW is unhelpful and out of touch with the purpose and intent of the meeting.

Penrith’s future remains uncertain. The community is divided, not just by the disparity that vulnerability brings to those most impacted, but by different rules set in place by the Premier that treat two halves of our City differently.

The current health order means moving around our LGA is incredibly difficult, and people are confused about what they need to do to comply and how they can keep themselves and their families safe.

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM believes the Premier needs to hear our communities’ concerns and to listen, understand and consider how the State government can assist in reducing some of the uncertainty and confusion we face.

“I’m completely lost as to why our effort to have an open conversation with the Premier was rejected and alarmed that the LGNSW request to meet with any representative from the ‘areas of concern’ was declined.

“It’s policy without heart; we have challenges and issues here that we’d like to discuss. Every decision, restriction, and compliance request passed down has a real impact on our people, families, workers, and employers who are already doing it tough.

“The Office of Local Government is not the author of the public health orders, so I’m unsure how a meeting with The Hon Shelley Hancock MP would help address our concerns.

“We accept the current situation is a busy time for the Premier. However, it’s imperative that at least the identified LGAs of concern have a voice to gain both clarity and a united future focus for everyone’s benefit.

“We need a whole of government response. We’re calling on the Premier to listen to our community so that decisions are balanced with their needs in mind,” said Cr McKeown.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 31 August 2021.