Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders believes the time has come to look at the best way for NSW to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, and he believes the regions can help lead the way.
With daily confirmed-case numbers across the state dropping significantly from where they were when the state’s Public Health Order was enforced, and statistics in regional NSW showing prolonged positive trends, Mr Saunders said it is time to look at making slow progress towards reopening businesses and public facilities.
“I think there are ways that regional areas like the Dubbo region could help lead the recovery,” Mr Saunders said.
“I have spoken to the Deputy Premier about how that might look and he is quite supportive of regions being the ones that take steps initially. That doesn’t mean we throw our hands in the air and say it’s all done, but it does show if things are managed well, we should be able to maintain a reasonable level.
“Discussions around how that could work are happening, but any changes would have to be based on the best health advice, with some restrictions still needed, including on people travelling in from outside areas.
“That said, I’m hoping there can be a way forward soon to support the economy in regional areas like ours, where our businesses have already battled years of drought even before the pandemic hit.”
Mr Saunders said that while it is important to look at ways forward, it is also vital to recognise there will be repercussions from making a move back towards normality.
“There would be expectations that if we change things cases of COVID-19 will increase. I think that is a given,” he said.
“But we’re at a stage now with the setting up of hospitals, and setting up of the new fever clinics thanks to some help from the Federal government, that that can be managed. “I think we will still need to maintain distancing, and there will still need to be a real focus on handwashing and sanitising, but if we can work out a way that regions can lead this recovery I am all for it.”