City of Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor, Khal Asfour, has slammed “postcode privilege” across Sydney’s LGAs, saying that Sydney has been divided into “two classes of people” with unfair lockdown rules for some areas and not others.
Appearing on the ABC’s Q+A program on Thursday 16 September, Mayor Asfour said that his community was feeling “angry” and “frustrated” seeing some areas of Sydney out on the weekend at beaches without masks or social distancing measures, while his communities were stuck at home with no hours of recreation.
“We’re fatigued after the 11, 12 weeks of lockdown now – not being able to go outside – it really does hurt, and it shows you a double standard.”
Mayor Asfour said that the “double standard” of policing across the city was evident, with those from LGAs with more freedom flouting masks and social distancing rules, while a member from his LGA was reportedly arrested for attending a funeral.
“One gets arrested when they’re grieving. The other gets to sunbake,” Mayor Asfour told the Q+A program on Thursday night.
Earlier in the week, the Premier met with hotspot mayors and community leaders to discuss the State’s approach to lockdowns and to try to form a joint approach in the State’s COVID fightback.
Mayor Asfour, said on social media following the meeting that the discussion with the Premier was a long time coming, but it was beneficial to be able to have an open conversation about the issues affecting hotspot LGAs across Sydney.
“I was joined by the Mayor of Liverpool Wendy Waller, Mayor of Fairfield Frank Carbone and Mayor of Campbelltown George Brticevic during a zoom call this morning,” Mayor Asfour said in a facebook post.
“I raised a number of issues on behalf of my community from pool closures, to business anger over check ins and curfews.”
Mayor Asfour also admitted that the meeting became strained at certain points.
“The meeting got quite heated when the issue of people being discriminated against because of the area they live in was raised.
“The health advice was being questioned and it was suggested by Mayor Carbone that maybe the Government needed new health advice.
“I am grateful the Premier made time to listen to our issues and concerns. The Premier took copious notes, so let’s wait and see how she responds.”
Speaking to the Financial Review, Mayor of Cumberland City Council, Steve Christou, said that while the premier did listen at the meeting and take notes, no commitments were made to change any restrictions in LGAs of concern.
”The Premier was left under no illusions today on what our residents expect and what we’re hoping we’re going to receive from the government,” Mayor Christou told the Financial Review.
“That’s no curfews and lockdowns and a vaccination hub.”
Mayor Christou said that he didn’t think that suburbs across Sydney should be divided up and have different rules for each area, also saying that the harsh lockdown rules were having a detrimental impact on resident’s livelihoods – many of whom work in trades.
“You cannot take a laptop home and do the work in that kind of field,” Mayor Christou told the Financial Review.
“It’s very hard. People are seriously struggling to pay their bills, their mortgage and their rent.
“Our people feel that they’re being unfairly isolated and unfairly governed, where we have other areas of NSW flock to the beach, laying around sunbathing.”