The Hunter region’s leading advocate for business, Business Hunter has received clarity today around the new travel permit rules that come into place from Saturday 21 August.
CEO Bob Hawes confirmed that Hunter’s travelling workers will only need to seek a permit to travel into the 12 LGAs of concern under the NSW Public Health Orders.
“We’ve seen more flexibility and mobility for our Hunter workforce with yesterday’s contraction of the Greater Sydney geographic boundary. Today we now clearly understand that Hunter workforces relying on travelling for essential business into Central Coast and many of the northern Sydney LGAs can continue to do this without a permit, as long as the purpose is legitimate and provable,” Mr Hawes said.
“NSW Police and NSW Health now require specific entry permits for travel for essential work into the Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield LGAs, and also some Penrith LGA suburbs that are listed on the NSW Health website".
“The travel permit system will make compliance and enforcement more straightforward for Police who are checking movement into and out of Greater Sydney, and all Greater Sydney travel into regions will require a permit to travel beyond their 50 kilometre buffer, regardless of local government area,” Mr Hawes explained.
“This is about identifying areas of risk but also identifying areas where business travel restrictions don’t need to be as tight – and the Hunter has certainly proven itself as rising to the occasion to keep a lid on our outbreak over the past week.”
Mr Hawes said much of the Hunter region was looking good to come out of the hard lockdowns where business and schooling could return to some normalcy on 28 August, but stressed that compliance to the finish line was critical to maximise the chances for our economy to begin its recovery.
“We’re walking a thin line and all busting to open up and, so far, we seem to be deserving of a more open economy than some of Sydney LGAs who clearly are causing pain for the rest of Greater Sydney and the state,” said Mr Hawes.
“The Hunter needs to keep pushing ahead and staying at home, adopting click and collect and takeaway transactions and being vigilant about who is coming in and out of the region.
That’s the message we’re getting from government.
“Police are setting up checkpoints so they’re on the case for us – but businesses need to be firm that if a customer or contact doesn’t look familiar, you’re within your rights to politely ask where home is for people. Five kilometres is the limit to leave your LGA other than for legitimate work purposes, for urgent second home maintenance, or inspecting real estate for the purpose of relocating – that’s state-wide, so it’s not just about Sydney.
“It’s been made clear that opening up the NSW economy more freely will rely on us learning to live with COVID-19 and vaccination is key to achieving this. Come forward and talk to Business Hunter if you’re interested in incentivising vaccination in your workplace – we hear of many great and quite simple examples of employers supporting staff to protect themselves against the Delta variant.”
Business Hunter has been fielding calls from regional businesses saying that while they were keen to come out of lockdown, broader state restrictions lifting would be key to small, regional economies kick starting again.
“Every freedom and opportunity for local businesses to open up and take in their local regular customers is welcome,” Mr Hawes said.
“We know that many of our local government areas do rely on a visitor economy and travelling trade, so we want to send out our encouragement to other regions going through this that we can’t wait to welcome you back when it’s safe to do so – so just stay the course, encourage each other to stick hard to the rules, and we’ll see you sooner rather than later.
“The finish line is so close – we don’t want anything to put the Hunter region at additional risk so let’s make everyone’s effort and the sacrifice worth it.”