‘Unemployment will kill more’: Furious Mark Latham slams financially secure MPs for asking visitors from Sydney’s west to stay away from the cash-strapped electorates they represent in case they spread coronavirus
- A handful of state MPs have told Sydney residents to stay away from regions
- They made the pleas even though there is no official advice banning holidays
- NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham has said regions need the money
- He believes that impacts of long-term unemployment are worse than the virus
Mark Latham has slammed MPs for telling city dwellers not to holiday in the cash-strapped regions they represent.
Several NSW state MPs representing tourist hubs including Byron Bay, Port Stephens, and the Bega region have told south-west Sydney residents to stay away – even though battling businesses are crying out for tourism dollars.
Bega MP Andrew Constance, who is also the Minister for Transport, said ‘it’s not the time to come’ to the south coast – even though there is no official advice banning holidays.
The move appears to contradict NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who is desperate to revive the economy, and Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who wants to avoid lockdown ‘at all costs’.
A handful of state MPs representing tourist hubs including Byron Bay (pictured) have told south-west Sydney residents to stay away, even though businesses are crying out for tourism dollars
The call has also enraged Mr Latham who fears the economic consequences of travel bans and lockdows could be more dangerous than the virus itself.
‘If you’re feeling healthy and you’ve got holidays booked, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go,’ the NSW One Nation leader told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I don’t think local MPs adding to the panic and hurting their local economy is productive.
‘Unemployment will kill more people and be around for longer than the virus if we don’t get the economy moving again.’
NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham
Residents from the local government areas of Campbelltown and Liverpool have been barred from Queensland and the Northern Territory after dozens of cases were recorded in the region.
‘We’ve been banned from Queensland so now is a great opportunity to holiday in regional NSW instead,’ Mr Latham said.
‘If your health is good, spend your money where the businesses need it.’
Mr Latham also slammed Mr Constance for ‘undermining’ his own government.
‘He’s a senior minister and he’s telling residents not to travel – but that’s not the official advice. This sort of confusion hurts businesses,’ he said.
NSW has recorded double-digit cases of community transmission for the past week, after a freight worker from Victoria brought the virus to Casula, south-west Sydney in June.
Earlier today, Mr Constance told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘It’s not the time to come to the coast for a beachside holiday over the next couple of weeks until we get through this unsettled period.’
Port Stephens Labor MP Kate Washington has also urged all New South Wales residents to reconsider their need to travel.
And Tamara Smith, Greens MP for Ballina which includes Byron Bay, said her region was ‘open for business’ but residents from south-west Sydney and other hotspots should stay away.
New South Wales recorded 19 new cases on Thursday and seven new cases on Friday but Mr Perrottet said he wanted to avoid more restrictions.
‘My view is that we should be doing everything we can to keep our economy open as much as possible,’ he told reporters.
‘The cost of a Victorian-style lockdown to the NSW economy would be $1.3billion a week and there are substantial costs not just on the economy but the jobs associated with that.’
Port Stephens (pictured) Labor MP Kate Washington has also urged all New South Wales ‘residents’ to reconsider their need to travel