Daniel Andrews has taken another hit at the New South Wales premier for refusing to put a ‘ring of steel around the city’ and clashed with reporters while declaring Sydney’s lockdown will go on for months.
The state premier took aim at Gladys Berejiklian during his Covid update on Sunday, declaring the situation currently unfolding in NSW was completely out of control.
Mr Andrews defended plunging his state into a snap five-day lockdown while once again demanding a ‘ring of steel’ be placed around Covid-hit Sydney.
‘I’m not doing it for people to like me. I’m doing it because it’s important, to save lives. Look at what’s happening in Sydney,’ the premier said.
The state premier took aim at Gladys Berejiklian during his Covid update on Sunday, declaring that the situation unfolding in NSW was not just an outbreak
‘I think people know and understand that what’s going on in Sydney is not an outbreak, it’s going to go on, it would seem, for months and no one wants that here, we’ve been through that and we don’t want to do it again.’
The premier said the fast-spreading Delta variant meant people now know: ‘You can’t wait, you’ve gotta lock down real fast’ in a slap in the face to Ms Berejiklian’s response at the start of the outbreak.
Mr 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’ve said a ring of steel around Sydney is something that should happen, that’s what we did last year [in Melbourne] and it worked, it protected country Victoria and it protected the rest of the country,’ he said.
‘That’s not going to happen… so we’ll just have to make sure our permit system is hard as it can be – that’ll be inconvenient for a lot of people.’
The premier said that before the national cabinet meeting on Friday, he didn’t have any expectations of having to ‘cough up’ vaccine doses for NSW
The premier noted that as case numbers continued to climb in NSW, the risk of people entering Victoria from Sydney would grow.
When asked if he supported former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten’s call for other less Covid-ravaged states to send unscheduled vaccines doses to NSW, Mr Andrews seemed to be lost for words.
‘Well… national cabinet will determine where vaccines are allocated, with the plan that’s agreed by national cabinet,’ he said.
The premier said he fully supported a JobKeeper-type arrangement in NSW, which he said ‘was only fair’ considering the state’s recent surge in Covid-19 cases.
Mr Andrews said he wanted to dispel any idea that there were warehouses full of allocated vaccines ‘waiting to be put in people’s arms’.
‘That’s just wrong. If we opened it up the queues would stretch to Sydney almost, of people that wanted to get vaccinated today.
‘They can’t get vaccinated today, because the stuff’s not here. The commonwealth has not secured the supplies that we need right now.’
A reporter then asked the premier if he thought himself or the NSW Premier had added to the ‘Hunger Games’ mentality of state versus state when it came to the vaccine rollout.
‘Well it’s not. It’s rather an irrelevant point,’ Mr Andrews said, adding the vaccines allocated to his state belonged to the commonwealth vaccination program.
Mr Andrews said he fully supported a JobKeeper type arrangement in NSW, which he said ‘was only fair’ considering the state’s recent surge in Covid-19 cases
The premier said that before the national cabinet meeting on Friday, he didn’t have any expectations of having to ‘cough up’ vaccine doses for NSW.
He said the meeting instead discussed cancelling GP appointments across NSW, in order to divert more Pfizer vials to state vaccination hubs in western Sydney, the epicentre of the outbreak with the vast majority of cases.
‘If you’ve got modelling, NSW, that shows your strategy of vaccinating the west would work, bring that forward,’ he said.
‘Maybe then we’d be more likely to have a view that more should go there. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.’
The premier said he would be happy to discuss sharing any or all resources with NSW, but needed to see 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 which appeared to trigger a reaction from Mr Andrews.
‘A question for Jeroen, that would be a great idea,’ the premier said, bitingly.
The premier said he would be happy to discuss sharing any or all resources with NSW, but needed to see evidence the vaccine diversion would make a ‘material difference’
Meanwhile, Health Minister Martin Foley has insisted the risk designation of NSW is a natural progression of attempts to protect Victoria and not to do with Premier Daniel Andrews’ call for a ‘ring of steel’ blockade around Sydney.
He also moved on Saturday to hose down the idea of tensions with NSW over a lack of willingness to redirect vaccines to Sydney’s virus-ridden suburbs.
Mr Foley said Victoria and other states had ‘legitimate demands’ on scarce vaccines for July and August which had already been allocated to them based on population.
However he welcomed recent reports of spare Pfizer doses in the national stockpile and said he’d be happy for those to be sent to NSW.
The premier meanwhile will make Victorians wait another day to find out when the state’s fifth lockdown will end, as 11 more cases were recorded on Sunday.