OPINION

Speaking out for our city

Speaking out for our city

On Tuesday, I met with Premier Gladys Berejiklian and other Mayors from west and south-western Sydney, to express the concerns of our community. We discussed everything from lockdown laws to support for local businesses and the increasing divide between the west and other parts of Sydney brought on by the different rules for different areas.

It was a frank and robust discussion and I thank the Premier for taking the time to listen to our perspective. We don't always agree, but it was a conversation we needed to have in order for us to move forward and come out of this lockdown together.

A key point I wanted to make was the importance of treating everyone the same, and the need to bring people together, so we can move forward no matter where people live. The most important focus was on restoring people's quality of life, restoring choices and a way forward.

Our community has borne the brunt of the restrictions and have been at the forefront since very early on in this outbreak, and it's the essential workers of the west that are keeping Sydney going, putting food on everyone's tables while risking bringing the virus back to their family members. The government should recognise this contribution not punish us for it.

We don't want to see Sydney split into two - with people lying on the beach in one part of Sydney while in the west we can't even go for a walk outside without a mask. As community leaders we want to express the community's concerns and make sure the community is not disadvantaged, discriminated or divided with these rules.

I am proud of Fairfield residents, we have risen to this challenge, and have come forward to be vaccinated. Our cases have reduced and stabilised and vaccination rates are higher than most other parts of Sydney and we should be rewarded for this effort with more freedoms - after all, we are told that vaccination is the only way forward out of lockdown. But we mustn't be complacent - for now we must continue to follow the health orders to ensure we suppress the virus and look forward to a time when we can come out of lockdown. Stay home, do not have visitors. Get tested if you have symptoms, and get vaccinated.

I have hope that the meeting has enlightened the Premier on the issues of our region and will now provide a more positive way forward in uniting our city and most importantly in fighting this virus together.

I only wished this happened previously and I have hope that with a better understanding we can move forward in the community's best interests.