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'It's embarrassing': Premier slams states for Covid 'overreaction'

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has labelled state border closures an "embarrassment" and called for more bravery from states and territories as the Covid-19 vaccine program rolls out through Australia.

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit, Ms Berejiklian said "there was and is absolutely no reason" for closing internal borders within Australia.

"The only time New South Wales did that was when Victoria had in excess of 180 cases per day, and because we have 55 checkpoints between our two borders," the premier said.

Gladys Berejiklian speaking at a press conference
'There was and is absolutely no reason' for closing internal borders within Australia Gladys Berejiklian said. Source: AAP

Berejiklian: 'A complete overreaction'

Three weeks into the vaccination rollout, Ms Berejiklian said those in the high-risk category should have been vaccinated so closing borders for the odd case "is a complete overreaction".

"It doesn't mean people won't get the virus or pass it on but the risk is massively diminished. There is no reason why internal borders should even be an issue. I think it's an embarrassment... I find it embarrassing within Australia," she continued.

Ms Berejiklian said she had faith in the international borders keeping the community safe and said the notion of every state creating a different definition of a virus outbreak "defies logic”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard look on as NSW Health worker Andrew Santoso receives his Covid-19 vaccination. Source: AAP
Gladys Berejiklian said three weeks into the vaccination rollout, those in the high-risk category have been vaccinated so closing borders for the odd case 'is a complete overreaction'. Source: AAP

The premier also said greater national consistency would give businesses greater confidence.

"We now have between 75-80 per cent of our adult population on the Service NSW app - which is high penetration for a government within 12 months and we've already had about 120 million touch-ins of the QR Codes," she said.

"When you build the systems, you don't need to rely on those ad-hoc measures which hurt business, hurt citizens and don't give us the opportunity we need."

NSW records 51 Covid-free days

NSW is set to cash in on its status as a Covid-free haven to aggressively target international and local business.

Ms Berejiklian has announced the creation of a new body which aims to attract billions of dollars to the state and drive its economy to recovery.

Having notched 51 Covid-free days on Tuesday, the premier said Investment NSW would take advantage of the state's successful handling of the pandemic and its position as a safe place to do business.

She said it would also reflect the government's focus on jobs, skills and investment, which formed part of its Covid recovery plan.

Ms Berejiklian said NSW had done a fantastic job over the past year of keeping economy activity alive while focusing on the health and safety of citizens.

"Which means our economy now presents a great opportunity for investors as we continue to rebound from this pandemic," she said.

"Investment NSW will be a one-stop-shop for the private sector, allowing NSW to target new jobs and lure Australian and global investment, as well as tourists, to our state."

with AAP

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