Daniel Andrews has been hit again with the Prime Minister of New South Wales for refusing to put a ‘ring of steel around the city’ and clashed with reporters as he stated that the Sydney lockdown will last for months.
The Prime Minister addressed Gladys Berejiklian during his Covid update on Sunday, stating that the situation currently unfolding in NSW is completely out of control.
Mr Andrews defended his state’s dipping into a quick five-day lockdown while again demanding a ‘ring of steel’ be placed around Covid-stricken Sydney.
“I don’t do it so that people like me. I do it because it’s important, to save lives. Look what’s happening in Sydney,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister addressed Gladys Berejiklian during his Covid update on Sunday, stating that the situation in NSW was not just an outbreak
“I think people know and understand that what’s going on in Sydney isn’t an outbreak, it’s been going on, it seems, for months and nobody wants that here. We’ve been through that and we don’t want to do it again.”
The Prime Minister said the rapidly spreading Delta variant meant that people now know ‘You can’t wait, you have to shut down very soon’ in a slap in the face to Ms Berejiklian’s response at the start of the outbreak.
Andrews said Victorians wanted a hard border with NSW and “as many restrictions as possible” to keep NSW residents “out of their state”.
“That’s why I said a steel ring around Sydney is something that should be done, we did that last year [in Melbourne] and it worked, it protected the country of Victoria and it protected the rest of the country,” he said.
“That’s not going to happen… so we need to make sure our licensing system is as hard as possible — that’s going to be awkward for a lot of people.”
Prime Minister said he had no expectations ahead of Friday’s national cabinet meeting to ‘cough up’ vaccine doses for NSW
The Prime Minister noted that as the number of cases continued to rise in NSW, the risk of people entering Victoria from Sydney would increase.
When asked whether he backed former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten’s call for other less Covid-ridden states to send unscheduled vaccine doses to NSW, Mr Andrews appeared to be out of words.
“Well … the national cabinet will determine where vaccines are allocated, with the plan agreed by the national cabinet,” he said.
The Prime Minister said he fully supported a JobKeeper-type scheme in NSW, which he said was “fair” given the recent rise in Covid-19 cases by the state.
Andrews said he wanted to dispel any idea that there were warehouses full of assigned vaccines “waiting to be put in people’s arms.”
‘That’s just wrong. If we opened it, the lines would stretch almost to Sydney, of people who wanted to get vaccinated today.
“They can’t get vaccinated today because the stuff isn’t here. The Commonwealth has not received the supplies we need now.’
A reporter then asked the Prime Minister if he thought he or the NSW Prime Minister had added the “Hunger Games” state-versus-state mentality when it came to the vaccine rollout.
“Well, it isn’t. It’s quite an irrelevant point,” said Mr Andrews, adding that the vaccines assigned to his state were part of the Commonwealth’s vaccination program.
Mr Andrews said he fully supported a JobKeeper-type scheme in NSW, which he said was “fair” given the recent rise in Covid-19 cases by the state.
The prime minister said he had no expectations before the national cabinet meeting on Friday that he would have to ‘cough up’ vaccine doses for NSW.
He said the meeting was instead about canceling GP appointments across NSW, to divert more Pfizer vials to state vaccination centers in western Sydney, the epicenter of the outbreak with the vast majority of cases.
“If you have modeling, NSW, showing that your strategy to vaccinate the west would work, bring that out,” he said.
‘Maybe then we have the idea that there should be more to come. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.’
The Prime Minister said he would like to talk about sharing any or all of the resources with NSW but needed evidence that a vaccine donation from his state would make a “material difference”.
A reporter then asked if Victoria’s Covid commander Jeroen Weimar could answer a question that appeared to provoke a response from Mr Andrews.
‘A question for Jeroen, that would be a good idea’, the prime minister said bitingly.
The Prime Minister said he would like to talk about sharing any or all of the resources with NSW but needed evidence that the vaccine diversion would make a “material difference”.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Martin Foley has maintained that NSW’s risk designation is a natural sequence of attempts to protect Victoria and has nothing to do with Prime Minister Daniel Andrews’ call for a ‘ring of steel’ blockade around Sydney.
He also moved on Saturday to wash away the idea of tensions with NSW over a lack of willingness to divert vaccines to the virus-ridden suburbs of Sydney.
Mr Foley said Victoria and other states had “legitimate demands” for scarce vaccines for July and August, which had already been allocated to them on a population basis.
However, he welcomed recent reports of Pfizer reserve doses in the national stash and said he would be happy if those were sent to NSW.
Meanwhile, the prime minister will make Victorians wait another day to find out when the fifth state lockdown will end, as 11 more cases were registered on Sunday.