Close to the eve of the Hunter region’s potential to come out of lockdown at midnight on Friday 10 September, the region’s leading voice for business, Business Hunter, is urging the NSW government to include transparency and detail in its much anticipated NSW Roadmap to Recovery.
Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes conceded on Wednesday afternoon based on the regular updates that it was unlikely large parts of the Hunter would be released from lockdown on Friday but welcomed early signals that the Upper Hunter’s situation looked promising.
“Things do change rapidly with this Delta variant, so we’re keen to hear the Deputy Premier’s forthcoming announcement to officially outline who is coming out of lockdown” Mr Hawes said.
“Despite a COVID case being investigated in Dungog, the signals are good for the LGA’s of the Upper Hunter and we’re keeping everything crossed they do get a reprieve and move out of lockdown.
“What we’re interested in is the detail of the government roadmap referenced over recent weeks and I know there will be many businesses on the edge of their seats to understand how, when and where they can start trading again and under what circumstances.
“If the Lower Hunter local government areas stay in lockdown for a longer period, then NSW Health and the government need to be extremely clear on just what it will take - and for how long - for all of the Hunter to be lifted out.
“Our consistent request to government is that this roadmap must offer very clear guidelines on what our communities need to do to get out and stay out of lockdown and to access vaccines as quickly as possible.
“The majority of businesspeople I’m speaking to are saying they are keen to do the right thing, protect themselves, their families, their customers and their workplaces, just like we’re all being asked to, and get back to or continue with their business,” said Mr Hawes.
Mr Hawes said he did have some concerns about the impact on businesses and the communities given the prospects of one part of the region staying under restrictions in difference to another. He said Business Hunter understood the potential to split the region would be based on health data and advice, and this meant more clarity was needed from government to reassure the entire region that the path ahead would achieve what was needed in one week rather than seven.
“The Hunter region is one region and very connected after all, and we know that each local government area across this region relies on labour force and economic activity in others to function properly and continue to make an economic contribution to the economy.
“We’re ready to do the heavy lifting again and open up our economy across the board. We need this roadmap to be easy for the whole Hunter region to understand and navigate together.”