Kiama MP Gareth Ward has come out swinging over this morning’s decision to extend the COVID lockdowns in the Illawarra for another two weeks.
Last week Mr Ward started an on-line petition opposing the lockdown in the Wollongong and Shellharbour areas.
It has so far received almost 13,000 signatures.
With the lockdown he says the restrictions cannot be justified in the Illawarrra.
“I support lockdowns where there is an overriding public health reason to do so. When there are no cases of community transition, there is no case to lockdown our region,” Mr Ward said.
“A COVID case does not equate to community transmission.
“If you are going to place caveats on people’s individual liberties, hurt businesses and disrupt families, you need to have a justification based on evidence.
“It is an incredibly serious decision for any government to instruct hundreds of thousands of people to stay at home and only leave if you have a reasonable excuse, and failure to do so can result in a fine or even arrest.
“If there was a sensible argument for lockdowns in our community, then so be it. But if such an argument exists, I’m yet to hear it.
“If cases of community transmission appear in our community, I am more than happy to revisit the question of lockdowns,” Mr Ward said.
“But in the absence of a clear explanation about the threshold test to lockdown a community, a clear explanation about the appreciable risk and the associated evidence, it is impossible to support this lockdown.
“Whilst I appreciate there is no how-to guide to dealing with a global pandemic, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a local MP if I wasn’t asking reasonable questions about the reasons behind this lockdown that is seriously impacting our community.
“In the absences of evidence and an explanation, I cannot support this decision,” Mr Ward said.