The scheme was announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday 14 August and will become effective from 12.01am this Saturday 21 August – yet there is no clear information about the system publicly available and the Government hasn’t opened applications.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen wrote to the Premier late yesterday seeking urgent clarification about the permit system.
Mr Olsen said: “Since Gladys Berejiklian announced this permit system, it has been a total shambles with mixed messages and confusion.”
“Transport workers can’t even get clear answers to the most basic questions like who will need a permit, or when applications will open.”
“The NSW Government is threatening anyone who breaks these rules with a $3,000 on-the-spot fine, but they’re not providing people with clear information about what the rules actually are.”
“If the Premier doesn’t give transport workers clear answers to these basic questions, then towns and cities across regional NSW risk being cut off from essential deliveries from Sydney.”
Examples of the confusion and mixed messages about the permit system and questions the Premier needs to urgently answer include:
- Which workers will require a permit – LGAs of concern, or all of Greater Sydney?
The Premier’s media release announcing the scheme says that it’s only workers from LGAs of concern, however the Federal Government’s Health Direct website says it applies to all of Greater Sydney.
In the days since the announcement, an independent MP from the Hunter region has posted on his Facebook page indicating that the Government advised him that any worker from Sydney, Wollongong or the Blue Mountains travelling to regional NSW will require a permit. Similarly, a Liberal MP from the Central Coast has posted on his Facebook page indicating that, for the purposes of the permit system, the Central Coast will not be considered part of Greater Sydney – despite it being part of Greater Sydney for all other COVID restrictions. The Liberal MP for Kiama has also posted on his Facebook page indicating that Shellharbour will also not be considered part of Greater Sydney for the permit system.
- When will applications open?
Authorised workers needing to enter regional NSW for work will be required to carry a permit from 12.01am this coming Saturday 21st. Yet with less than 3 days to go, there is still not even a way for people to apply on the Service NSW website. This is particularly concerning for truck drivers completing interstate and/or longer intrastate trips, who may be leaving home in the coming days (if they haven’t already) and who may unknowingly need a permit for part of their journey.
- Will interstate truck drivers passing through regional NSW require permits?
Will a truck driver going to an interstate destination require a permit to pass through regional NSW (including making stops for fuel/rest breaks), or will the permit requirement only apply to workers whose final destination is in regional NSW?