The NSW Health Minister walked offstage instead of answering a question about a tough new virus rule due to come into effect in less than 48 hours.
With less than two days to go until employees in Sydney hotspot areas will be made to carry permits to go to work, the website where they can be obtained still hasn’t gone online.
On Thursday afternoon Service NSW were still putting the finishing touches on the website, which is expected to be flooded with applicants who live in “local government areas of concern” where the coronavirus is spreading fast.
The requirement to carry the permit kicks in a minute after midnight on Saturday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was asked when the permit site would go online at a press conference on Thursday but walked off stage without answering the question.
Mr Hazzard appeared as if he was about to reply to the question when he noticed the Premier and Deputy Premier were walking offstage, and said: “Sorry, they’re walking – I’ll come back to you.”
A Service NSW spokesman said the permit site would go online at 5pm on Thursday.
That’s just 31 hours before the requirement goes into effect.
“Service NSW appreciates the urgency of establishing registrations for workers entering or leaving an LGA of concern in providing clarity for affected customers and helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” the spokesman said.
“Customers requiring a workers registration will be able to apply from 5pm this evening.
He said those who already have a MyServiceNSW account would be able to complete the registration process in a “couple of minutes”.
“Eligible registrations will be issued immediately after application, with the PDF able to be presented on the approved person’s smart phone,” he said.
The NSW Opposition Leader pointed out the need for a permit website to go online in a tweet on Thursday.
“40 hours until worker permits are needed to get in & out of hotspot LGAs,” Chris Minns tweeted.
“The permit website still doesn’t exist … This needs to be a NSW Govt & Services NSW priority.”
The Service NSW website for registrations currently says information will be available “soon”.
The permits will also be necessary for people who live outside the hotspots but who need to go there for work.
Service NSW said that if technical issues would occur that made it impossible for someone to apply for the permit, NSW police could use their discretion to decide whether the person was following the health orders.
The Sydney LGAs of concern are:
- Georges River
- Penrith for the following suburbs: Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys
Originally published as NSW hotspot worker permit website to open just 31 hours before rule begins
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