State Leaders to Meet With COVID-impacted LGA Mayors

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro will meet with regional mayors and community leaders this week following calls by Local Government NSW (LGNSW) to take a joint approach in the state’s COVID fightback.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said this Friday’s (September 17) meeting had been organised to discuss how best to boost regional vaccination rollouts, testing facilities, sewer testing and pathways out of lockdown.

“I thank the Deputy Premier for accepting our invitation to a meet with regional and rural mayors and general managers,” Cr Scott said.

“It’s an important demonstration of the need to work collaboratively with all tiers of government, in the best interest of our communities.

“Regional leaders want the same thing as the State Government: to keep our communities safe and to drive a locally led recovery from the economic crisis created by COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns.”

The Deputy Premier is expected to be joined by Department of Regional NSW (DRNSW) Secretary Gary Barnes and DRNSW Deputy Secretary Fiona Dewar at the meeting.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also promised this week to meet with mayors in the hardest hit COVID-impacted communities.

Cr Scott welcomed the Premier’s change of heart, which follows an initial rejection of calls to meet with the peak body and the mayors of 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern in western and south western Sydney.

“Many of these mayors tell us they have been ignored by the State Government, despite their work on the frontlines to support their communities through the COVID crisis.

“Following our advocacy efforts, the Premier reached out to organise a series of meetings to discuss the most effective ways to jointly support the two million-plus residents these mayors represent.

“It is really pleasing to see the Premier acknowledge the critical role being played by local government by taking a collaborative approach to the crisis she herself has described as one of the most difficult issues of our time.

“I have every confidence these discussions involving both the Premier and Deputy Premier will help the push to get communities vaccinated and NSW out of lockdown.”

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