NSW Premier denies ignoring health advice on reopening plan

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has denied stepping around public health advice when changing the state’s road map out of lockdown.

Mr Perrottet said the claims were “untrue” and argued there would always be different opinions on what should be done.

“This is a balance and that’s the approach the NSW Government has taken successfully over the course of the last 18 months,” he told reporters.

“We listened to the health advice. We listened to the economic advice. We listened to the mental health advice as well.

“There are many challenges that occur during a pandemic and it’s not just NSW. I think Australia has done incredibly well.”

Covid Health UpdateCamera IconDominic Perrottet has denied ignoring health advice on reopening NSW. NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Perrottet made several changes after becoming premier, including bringing forward school reopenings and increasing gathering sizes.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant was reportedly against the changes, supporting a more cautious approach out of lockdown.

But on Saturday, Mr Perrottet dismissed suggestions he had sidelined the public health advice.

“Our role is to listen to advice and make decisions off the back of it. Yes, there will be challenging times ahead. We make no qualms about that,” he said.

“We are still in a pandemic. Case numbers will increase. Hospitalisations will increase as well. But our vaccination rate has been key to keeping teem safe and importantly being able to get people back to work as quickly as possible.”

Covid Health UpdateCamera IconKerry Chant was reportedly unhappy with changes to the reopening map. NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi Credit: News Corp Australia

Earlier in the week, Mr Perrottet also increased the number of adults allowed to gather in public spaces from 20 to 30 and increased the cap of people at weddings and funerals from 50 to 100.

Indoor pools would also reopen from October 11.

“Everything we do is in a measured and considered way, based on the health and economic advice,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We don’t always get it right. We’ve made mistakes. Last year, every government around the world has made mistakes. When you make mistakes, you put your hand up and move on.”

NSW recorded 580 new local Covid-19 cases on Saturday.

The state is nearing 90 per cent double-dose vaccination rate, and will hit 70 per cent on Monday – when the state prepares to emerge from a 15-week lockdown.

The Fort News