The sudden end of Gladys Berejiklian’s premiership means NSW’s ‘roadmap to freedom’ may look radically different once her successor takes power.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is the frontrunner to take over from Ms Berejiklian as Premier when the NSW Liberal parliamentary party meets to choose a new leader.
While Ms Berejiklian has stuck closely to the plan endorsed by the national cabinet for a path out of Covid-19 restrictions, Mr Perrotet’s public statements reveal a less patient approach to re-opening the NSW economy.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is the frontrunner to take over from Ms Berejiklian as premier when the NSW Liberal parliamentary party meets to choose a new leader
Mr Perrottet is understood to have stridently opposed extending Greater Sydney’s lockdown during a crisis cabinet meeting in July
While he has been careful not to publicly disagree with the plan to restore many freedoms to the state’s residents as the 70 and 80 per cent full vaccination thresholds are passed, Mr Perrottet had previously expressed frustration at the prospect of Australia becoming ‘a hermit kingdom’.
After the state was plunged into lockdown, there were claims Mr Perrottet had stridently opposed extending restrictions during a crisis cabinet meeting.
In response, Mr Perrottet told 2GB’s Ben Fordham: ‘My job is to advocate for businesses and keeping people in jobs and that’s what I do, what I don’t do is speak about the individual positions that ministers take in relation to those discussions.’
In a recent interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr Perrottet predicted a ‘glorious summer’ ahead for NSW as life began to return to normal.
‘Now as Australians, and particularly in NSW, we’ve got restrictions in place and you look overseas and we see the US Open packed, the Premier League with packed crowds and we go ”we want to have that”, and that’s what we’re going to have here in NSW as we open up in a safe way,’ he said.
He was particularly keen for nightclubs to re-open and community sport to resume.
‘Your early years at university and college are the best years of your life and we want to get the pubs and clubs open again and we want to bring fun back to our state,’ he said.
The sudden end of Gladys Berejiklian’s premiership means NSW’s ‘roadmap to freedom’ may look radically different once a successor takes power
‘Your early years at university and college are the best years of your life and we want to get the pubs and clubs open again and we want to bring fun back to our state,’ Mr Perrottet told Daily Mail Australia
Mr Perrottet had also talked up the resumption of international travel. When Australia will open up to the rest of the world was only confirmed today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said Australians would be able to access an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document in the coming weeks and quarantine at home on return from next month.
‘We’re talking about returning international students, we’re talking about returning Australians. We’re opening up businesses and the next step is opening up borders,’ Mr Perrottet told Daily Mail Australia..
‘If we can lead the way on international travel that’s going to be a great thing for the state.
‘And hopefully that will then lead to other states following us. It might be ironic that you can get to Bali before you can get to Broome but that’s where we’re heading.’
Following Ms Berejiklian’s resignation, Mr Perrottet released a statement offering his ‘gratitude and thanks’ to the outgoing premier and saying he would take time in coming days to talk to family and colleagues about how he could best serve NSW.
‘The interests of the people of NSW must always come first, and the priority for the Government is to ensure we continue to keep people safe, and that we re-open the economy and get people back to work, kids back to school, and life back to normal as fast as possible.’
The NSW government has identified October 11 as the date the state would open up after hitting 70 per cent double vaccination of the eligible population, with 80 per cent to be reached two weeks later and 90 per cent by December 1.
Ms Berejiklian had indicated that once the 80 per cent target is hit, people will be allowed to travel freely throughout NSW, stand up for a drink at the pub, resume community sport and consider international travel.
Fully vaccinated people would be free to once again attend weddings, funerals and hairdressers.
At 90 per cent full vaccination, it’s expected masks and density rules will be dispensed with.
Yesterday, Ms Berejiklian announced that NSW school students will begin a staggered return to face-to-face learning a week earlier than planned on Monday, October 18.
At 80 per cent full vaccination, people will be allowed to travel freely throughout NSW, stand up for a drink at the pub, resume community sport and consider international travel, the NSW government had said
Mr Perrottet said while suburb-specific lockdowns may still be required, he expected state-wide shutdowns to be over for good once the 70 per cent threshold was reached, including in LGAs with higher active case numbers.
‘Simply because certain local government areas… at the moment have higher case numbers than others does not mean at a 70 per cent mark, when we hit that double dose level, that those people who’ve received the vaccination are not able to participate in society like everyone else.,’ he told Sky News.
At 39, Mr Perrottet would be the youngest leader in the history of Australia’s most populated state.
He became Treasurer in January 2017 when Ms Berejiklian replaced Mike Baird as Premier, is also a devout Catholic and hails from the Liberal Party’s Right faction.
On Friday, 87.2 per cent of people aged 16 and older had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 64 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The current NSW outbreak had resulted in 352 deaths to date.