Greater Sydney travel restrictions are too little too late

14th August 2021, the Hunter Valley has spent the last week paying the price of the NSW government’s negligence and the cost is likely to be many more weeks of pain for Hunter people and businesses. The Hunter Valley Statehood Movement says the time for a serious conversation about self-determination for the Hunter Valley has arrived.

Bryce Ham, spokesperson for the movement, “I’m glad to see the NSW government finally put some serious restrictions on Sydneysiders travelling outside Greater Sydney but it is too little too late. It’s a joke that it took a wave of the deadly virus across regional NSW to finally see action on this issue that Hunter MPs and organisations have been advocating for weeks. If the Hunter had a voice when these decisions were being made, it’s likely this outbreak in the Hunter never would have happened. We aren’t getting that voice in the NSW government, only statehood can deliver it.”

The lockdown in the Hunter follows the decision to send Pfizer doses allocated to the Hunter south to Sydney to accommodate vaccinating Year 12 students, leading to 5500 appointments at the Belmont vaccination hub being cancelled. The decision has now been reversed but Hunter residents continue to feel the disastrous consequences of the move.

Ham, “The decision to send our Pfizer supplies south followed by its immediate reversal has had a huge impact on the vaccine rollout in the Hunter. People have struggled to rebook cancelled appointments and new bookings remain closed due to the supply issues this move has created. Both the Federal and State Governments keep telling us to get vaccinated, but you can understand why some in the Hunter may be frustrated and reluctant when this is the deal we get.”

People across the Hunter Valley are fed up with the chaos of the last week as it became clear the Hunter was disastrously unprepared for the outbreak of COVID.

Ham, “If decisions on COVID were being made right here in the Hunter Valley, then I think it’s clear the last week would have been a lot less chaotic. There’s been confusion due to conflicting details between Sydney press conferences and Hunter New England Health social media, terribly long waiting times for test results, and then the Hunter was left in limbo until the last minute for an answer on the lockdown extension. Sometimes, you have to wonder if Gladys even knows where Newcastle is. Leaving our protection up to a Sydney-dominated government is clearly unsustainable. We need Hunter Valley statehood now.”

The Hunter Valley Statehood Movement officially launched last month following the Federal Court’s ruling against the Port of Newcastle’s planned container terminal. The movement says that widespread outrage over the last year as the Hunter continues to suffer from decisions made by the Sydney government has invigorated its supporters to push ahead with the campaign.

Ham, “Newcastle and the Hunter Valley have been taken for granted by Sydney for too long. We have been neglected for decades and our region's future is uncertain because of that. But we can change this. It's time to put our future into our hands.”

The movement, which aims to hold its first major action in the next six months, highlighted that it is fighting for a Royal Commission into the feasibility of Hunter Valley Statehood to be held as soon as possible, and a referendum on Hunter Valley Statehood by 2030. It encourages people to visit its website and social media pages to learn more and find out how they can take action.

Ham, “With a Hunter Valley State, we will shape our own destiny. Decisions on our future will be made right here, not in a courtroom or parliament in Sydney.

Media enquiries: email
More info: visit the movement’s website