Chambers unite to fight Coast lockdown

Construction projects, including the finishing touches on the new Woy Woy ferry wharf, closed down from July 19 until at least July 30

The Peninsula Business Chamber is calling for the NSW Government to take the Central Coast out of the Greater Sydney COVID-19 lockdown but local MPs are not supportive.

“We are obviously very concerned about the impacts of the restrictions on businesses as a result of being included in the Greater Sydney region,” said Peninsula Business Chamber President, Matthew Wales.

“This is clearly having quite devastating impacts on our retail sector and now that we have the construction industry lockdown this is going to severely affect all of our local trades, not only those who work locally but those who rely on building contracts in Sydney,” Wales said.

“This is at odds with previous lockdowns where the construction industry was deliberately left out of those restrictions,” he said.

“We understand, based on the health advice, that the government is concerned about the virulent Delta strain but it should be remembered that we have no active COVID cases on the Central Coast.”

Wales said he had spoken with Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford, and Adam Crouch, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast about the economic damage being caused by the hard lockdown.

“Both fall lock step in line with the chief medical health officer’s advice so no joy with our local politicians supporting us to be excluded from the lockdown,” he said.

“The local chambers and that includes Gosford, The Entrance and Wyong will all be voicing our view publicly that this lockdown must be reviewed.

“If the government is concerned about restricting movements, then to our way of thinking, we simply prevent movements from the Central Coast to Sydney and vice versa.

“ If it is the government’s view that we should be included because of the high commuter population going into Sydney, clearly the government’s actions have already reduced that to a trickle by introducing, effectively, Sunday timetables on the trains and a near-empty freeway.

“It does not mean that the government has to lock the region down.

“It simply means that we need to ensure that people don’t travel into the city and Sydneysiders don’t travel to the Central Coast, that way you can take us out of lockdown and give businesses the chance to survive.

“There clearly hasn’t been a seeding event on the Central Coast so our view as a local business chamber is take us out of the lockdown because there are many businesses that are saying to me that in two weeks’ time they won’t have a business to go back to.

“I have discussed this with the other major business chambers on the Central Coast and they are of the same mind.

“Each believes we should be taken out of lockdown and, if needed, implement a softer, broader control at the Hawkesbury River Bridge or the Mount White Checking Station to monitor movements to and from Sydney.”

Wales said the chamber had been contacted by many business owners who were distressed about this region’s inclusion in Greater Sydney.

“We have one restaurant operator locally that employs over 70 staff and because of these restrictions 60 of those staff are now no longer working and that translates on a weekly basis somewhere in the order of $20,000 to $25,000 per week in lost revenue.

“A much larger restaurant operation that employs hundreds of workers has now had to essentially let go of 80 per cent of their workforce, the majority of which are young casuals that now no longer have any employment.

“No JobKeeper means these employees have to scramble for whatever assistance they can from the government.

“These are real impacts that affect families every day.”

The construction industry represents one of the largest employment groups across the region and Wales said the chamber is concerned restrictions may drag on.

“The problem the lockdown will cause for the construction industry is that every building project stops.

“This is not a pause as the government calls it; this is a stoppage.

“All the builders and trades have to down tools, walk away from their sites, find something else to do for at least two weeks only to come back and somehow get their building sites operational again.

“It is going to take weeks for builders and trades to restart their projects and on top of that you have the impacts on the supply chain, where orders are postponed or cancelled and then have to be reordered and rescheduled once the lock down eases.

“We are in completely new territory and the effect could be delays of months on building projects.

“I think potentially you could be looking at up to $20 million in terms of the impact on the local economy.

“From the developer right down to the apprentice, everybody gets lumped into this lockdown, it doesn’t discriminate.

“The hidden impact is people’s mental health and underlying all of this we are very conscious as a business community of how this is affecting the mental health of our members and their families.

“This is unchartered territory and the government needs to be incredibly mindful of the impact its decisions are making on our families.”

He said the government needs to get serious about making mass vaccinations available to local residents so lockdowns are no longer necessary.

“The State Government needs to provide facilities in the Central Coast LGA so we can mass vaccinate locals,” he said.

Jackie Pearson

10 Comments on "Chambers unite to fight Coast lockdown"

  1. I agree. Set up checkpoints both sides of Mooney bridge. ONLY ESSENTIAL WORKERS PERMITTED
    Let the coast get on with it.

  2. Richard Thorley | July 23, 2021 at 6:37 am | Reply

    Hi, I had also written to the state politicians on this some weeks ago, prior to the recent travel restrictions being within the lockdown area actually increased the risk to Central Coast residents with travel between Sydney and the Coast.
    TheCoast has an older compliant demographic, more at risk, less density, and a clear geographic boundary of national park and a river.
    I had not had any supporting responses either which was disappointing.

  3. John Salvietti | July 23, 2021 at 1:54 pm | Reply

    There has been NO coved reports on the central coast so WHY are we locked down.
    Just maybe the parties involved might look at the next election and their chances of survival..

  4. We have a military that is largely kicking rocks ! Mobilize the military and have check points in the middle of the Hawksbury River bridge. Close the old pacific highway and stop people from traveling to and from the coast unless they are Essential or have permits to do so. Have these people getting tested everyday so they know immediately if they are infected. I am a business owner and although I didn’t qualify for the grant in the early stage I am feeling the drop now and can prove the loss however its outside of the requirements of the government and doesn’t count

  5. Fulvio Dowsent | July 23, 2021 at 5:41 pm | Reply

    xxxx all Sydney residents trying to enter the CC LOL but I can understand the gov. logic
    if one infected person that has travelled to Syd.and back home we would be in the same boat
    Good on you Gladys

  6. Chris Thomson | July 23, 2021 at 6:23 pm | Reply

    You have my full support we have been included in the lock down with no just cause.

  7. Why can’t central coast be locked down by suburb north of Tuggerahis world away from Sydney

  8. Clive Anderson | July 24, 2021 at 10:20 am | Reply

    It is quite apparent that the NSW government has been given totally the wrong information on the Delta Strain ignoring advise as to what happened overseas and treated it like the Alpha virius every new attack of these diseases needs to be addressed differently.
    It’s about time the government got real instead of a Clayton lockdown. This should of been nipped in the bud in the eastern suburbs.
    Is there a political motive in all this to blame the Federal Government
    I agree we should shut southern areas off at the Hawkesbury River and no one accept emergency services be allowed to pass there’s to many tradies and so called essential services rorting the travel system and none of this 50km nonsense

  9. enoughalready | July 24, 2021 at 3:20 pm | Reply

    lock down the central coast from the haweksbury up. employ the police or army to put up a barrier and check people. enough is enough.

  10. Myopiniononly | July 25, 2021 at 11:16 am | Reply

    I support the local governments view on taking the Central Coast off the lockdown. There is no earthly reason why they can not restrict movements between Sydney and The Central Coast. If the government are not in a position to support the Jobkeeper payments again, then they would be much better off financially just locking down the Sydney and surrounding areas, thus gaining revenue from those business that have now had to close on the Central Coast due to the lock down. I would think that policing the border restrictions would be far less expensive than what they are doing now

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