The Transport Workers’ Union has slammed the ongoing uncertainty about the NSW Government’s regional NSW travel permit system, and accused the NSW Government of risking delays and shortages of essential goods in regional communities.
With less than 24 hours until they begin being enforced, there is still no information available about the travel permit system, and applications have still not opened.
TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary Richard Olsen said: “From the minute Premier Berejiklian announced this permit system last weekend, it reeked of policy-on-the-run and unfortunately that’s proven to be the case.”
“There are less than 24 hours until this permit system is active, and the Government still haven’t been able to give a straight answer on which workers will be required to have a permit, or when applications will open.”
“Thousands of trucks take deliveries into regional NSW from Sydney every day – and every single one of those drivers is now unsure what they’re supposed to do.”
“It’s a complete shambles – should truck drivers just carry on as usual and risk being fined for not having a permit they haven’t even been able to apply for, or should they wait until they can get a permit and let supermarket shelves across regional NSW go empty in the meantime?”
“For the sake of our transport workers, and the regional communities who depend on the deliveries they make, the NSW Government needs to sort this mess out today.”
The questions transport workers are demanding immediate answers to are:
- Which workers will require a permit? Is it every worker leaving Greater Sydney, or only those from LGAs of concern?
- When will applications open, and what documentation will workers need to submit as part of their application?
- Will transport workers need to apply for a separate permit every time they travel to regional NSW, or will they be able to receive an ongoing permit?
- Will interstate truck drivers require a permit if they are passing through regional NSW (including stopping for fuel etc), or will they only require a permit if their ultimate destination is in regional NSW?
See below for a complete timeline of the chaos and confusion over the NSW Government’s regional travel permit system:
- Saturday 14 August – NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces that from 21 August, any authorised worker from an LGA of concern will require a permit to enter regional NSW. At the same media conference, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says that information about the permit system will be available on the NSW Government website on Monday 16 August.
- Tuesday 17 August – Kiama Liberal MP Gareth Ward posts on Facebook saying that for the purposes of the permit system, the Shellharbour LGA will not be considered part of Greater Sydney. Liberal MP for Terrigal Adam Crouch made a similar post later that day saying that the Central Coast LGA will also be annexed from Greater Sydney for the purposes of the permit system. In response to a media enquiry, the NSW Government indicates that applications for permits will open on Saturday 21 August – the same day they are due to be enforced.
- Wednesday 18 August – NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys says there will not be a grace period for the enforcement of permits despite the fact that applications won’t open until Saturday.
- Thursday 19 August – NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says that “all workers leaving Greater Sydney will now need a permit, and further to that, they will need to be COVID tested for the previous seven days” – contradicting the original announcement by the Premier that only authorised workers in LGAs of concern would require a permit.
Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590