Acting on your survey feedback

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill in my Cafe and Restaurant survey. I have written to the Premier Gladys Berejiklian to pass on the feedback I received from my constituents, including around cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

I am really grateful to the Premier, Deputy Premier and the leadership team for recognising the needs of regional businesses. These changes will make such a difference to some of our smaller rural communities, as well as larger establishments that can see a way to operate under these new conditions. I look forward to seeing restrictions relax more over the coming weeks and months in line with the health advice.

The Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP

Premier of NSW

Dear Premier

I write on behalf of a number of owners of cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs in the Dubbo Electorate who have expressed concerns about how their businesses will survive during COVID-19 restrictions.

It is my understanding that it will not be financially viable for many cafes and restaurants to host just 10 patrons at a time. I believe it would support a great deal more businesses to reopen if they were allowed to operate in line with the four square metre rule, as applies to other places of work including retail premises. Many have assured me that this would be far more commercially viable for them.

I also represent a number of small, rural communities which have little to nothing in the way of restaurants or cafes – indeed where the focal point of social interaction is often the local pub. The importance of social interaction has come to the fore in recent years as my region battled drought, and has been highlighted again through this pandemic. I would urge you to consider allowing pubs and clubs to operate as restaurants. Country pubs have already endured drought and bushfires, with those crises pushing many rural businesses to the brink even before COVID-19. I know it would mean a lot for communities in rural NSW to be able to eat at and support their local pub.

I know you have been keen to see NSW take a whole-of-state approach to the easing of restrictions, but maybe there are cases where the regions can lead. Either way, I believe the above suggestions, applied state-wide, would better support hospitality businesses in the bush to reopen to their communities, as well as provide an important morale boost for regions that have endured a lot in recent years.

Thank you for your continuing strength in guiding NSW through this crisis – I believe Australia has led the world in its response to this threat and you can take a lot of credit for that.

Yours Sincerely

Dugald Saunders

Member for the Dubbo Electorate

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