Tweed councillor James Owen.Photo: Scott Powick
Tweed councillor James Owen.Photo: Scott Powick

‘STAY AWAY’: Plea to Sydney hot spot travellers

IN RESPONSE to growing unrest within the Tweed about the potential for a COVID-19 cluster outbreak, a Shire councillor is now appealing to Sydney-siders directly to stay away from our region.

Locals fear travellers refused entry to Queensland after being in pandemic hot spots will hang around and spread the virus.

Cr James Owen, who wrote to the NSW Premier earlier this week with his concerns, is now going straight for the source.

“While the Tweed Shire is well and truly open for business, we do not want travellers from Sydney hot spots visiting us right now,” he said.

Tweed Shire councillor James Owen.
Tweed Shire councillor James Owen.

“The health and safety of our local community must be our number one priority, and I urge these travellers to reconsider their need to travel to our region.

“Having to say this is regrettable – tourism is the lifeblood of our community – but I am concerned that an outbreak here in the Tweed Shire could overwhelm our local health system and would be devastating for our local economy.”

Cr Owen said to date the Tweed Shire has avoided significant COVID-19 infections, and currently there are no active cases.

“We, as a community, want it to stay that way. 32 per cent of our residents are aged over 60, and 4.4 per cent of our residents are Aboriginal, placing them in the highly vulnerable category,” he said.

In his letter to Gladys Berejiklian, Cr Owen asked the Premier to advise about “what contingencies were being considered by the New South Wales Government” to address the monitoring of those turned away at the Queensland border.

“Our local community is concerned is that there is currently no monitoring of the movements, or whereabouts, of these people, and therefore no way of knowing whether they are subsequently remaining in the Tweed Shire.”

Last week, Tweed Byron Police District Superintendent Dave Roptell said the information travellers who were turned away at the border gave Queensland police was passed onto NSW police.



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