Statement on Wollongong remaining in lockdown

20 August 2021

The Illawarra should be treated as one region as part of any COVID response.

Wollongong has been doing its bit.


Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District statistics confirm Wollongong cases have been consistently low.


These statistics confirm Wollongong has less active cases that the Central Coast and Shellharbour.


The first dose vaccination rate in the Illawarra is over 50 per cent and increasing. The region ranks in the top 10 areas for second dose vaccination.


Adjoining local government areas have additional restrictions, further limiting people movement to the region.


We have not had community transmission.


The reward for this effort is splitting a region that has always functioned as one.


It makes no sense to separate the Illawarra along lines that were drawn a century ago.


Despite including Wollongong as part of “Greater Sydney” the Premier excluded Wollongong workers from “test and isolate” support payments, didn’t increase vaccine availability leading to a two month wait at our Mass Vaccination Centre, delayed small business support and introduced a shambolic permit system that appears to be more PR stunt than virus protection.


Only a Government that doesn’t understand the Illawarra would split a region that functions as a single economy, a single community, and more importantly is a single, networked health district.


Local restrictions should reflect local conditions and any objectively fair assessment of Wollongong’s conditions would mean Wollongong should be removed from “Greater Sydney”.


This is a view shared by the labour movement and business community.


The evidence and our track record speaks for itself.


The Premier should release the public health advice she has used to make her decision.


At a time we should be united the separation of Wollongong and Shellharbour divides us.