Deniliquin Pastoral Times

A ‘total disgrace’

- ‘‘It’s a total disgrace.’’

That is how NSW Member for Murray Helen Dalton described Saturday’s lastminute announceme­nt that all of NSW would be going in to a seven day lockdown.

Advised through a Zoom meeting with NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro at 1.30pm, Mrs Dalton said it still took another hour for Mr Barilaro to make his decision public – via social media.

And official word did not come from NSW Health until at least 3.30pm — 90 minutes before lockdown started.

‘‘They basically only gave us two hours’ notice before the lockdown at 5pm,” she said.

‘‘If he (Barilaro) is using Twitter to tell people and then he’s blocking everyone he doesn’t like, how is that a good form of communicat­ion?’’

Mrs Dalton said it was about time the Federal Government stepped in and developed a nation-wide set of rules, rather than different states having different versions to achieve the same outcome.

She said Saturday’s lockdown announceme­nt was the 15th rule change in 15 days for those in the NSW-Victoria border community, and that residents have ‘‘had a gutful’’.

‘‘They’re city-centric rules and they’re very vague; my phone has been running hot since (Saturday) afternoon and it continues,” she said.

‘‘I’ve got an enormous amount of people suffering from anxiety, I’ve got people in tears, and that was before the lockdown.

‘‘People’s lives are broken, they’ve cashed in their last chip on their life’s savings, and to date we’ve had no cases.’’

While frustrated at the way the lockdown was handled, Mrs Dalton’s message to the community was to do the right thing and be vigilant.

‘‘If we get COVID in my electorate we are in a lot of trouble, because we’re so short of medical staff in every hospital that we will not cope. We can’t cope now,’’ she said.

‘‘I think right from the onset of the outbreak in June we were expecting Gladys to have a quick, harsh lockdown in Sydney. She did a half-baked job and did not do what she should’ve done.

‘‘Let’s prove to both the Victorian and New South Wales government­s that the border community is a special area, and we are highly vigilant and respectful of the law and we want to at least go back to some form of normalcy after this lockdown.”

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