Furious locals trapped by lockdown and curfews in Sydney's south-west say they have been abandoned by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who has told them she's 'too busy' to discuss the fight against Covid with them.
They say Ms Berejiklian hasn't been seen in the west since the pandemic began more than 18 months ago - and hasn't made the effort to visit the 12 Local Government Areas she's subjected to brutal lockdown restrictions, including a 9pm curfew and just one hour's exercise per day.
Mayors from the 12 LGAs claim that an invitation for her to come meet them was dismissed by her office on Tuesday because her diary was too full.
'I'm furious. It's an insult to our communities,' said Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour. 'Being busy isn't acceptable. This is what should be keeping her busy.'
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Furious locals trapped by lockdown and curfews in Sydney's west say they have been abandoned by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who is 'too busy' to to see them. (Pictured, Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour and LGNSW President Linda Scott)
Mayors in LGAs of concern say Ms Berejiklian hasn't been seen in the west since the pandemic began, despite imposing brutal lockdown restrictions that are wrecking their lives. (Pictured, an woman shopping in Granville on Wednesday)
The local community leaders had hoped the meeting would be a chance to work together with the state to improve the effectiveness of the fight against Covid.
The state confirmed another 1,116 new Covid cases and four more deaths overnight with Sydney's Covid lockdown siege now in its ninth week and 12 LGAs still under tighter rules than the rest of the city.
The 12 LGAs of concern are Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith.
Those councils cover around 2.5million residents who are under curfew between 9pm and 5am and allowed out to exercise for just an hour day. Only essential workers can leave their council area and must get tested frequently.
Community leaders in the west can help make make lockdown restrictions work better if they were consulted, says Local Government New South Wales President Linda Scott (pictured)
Locals are 'shocked, angry and frustrated' at the Premier's refusal to leave the leafy suburbs of Sydney's North Shore to see the harsh realities of lockdown life in the west for herself.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'She hasn't been around here for months - since before this pandemic started,' said Mr Asfour.
'She doesn't to hear our stories. We want some light at the end of the tunnel
'She should come out and see and hear the stories that we're hearing every day. It might help her when she's making decisions that affect us.
Locals are now 'shocked, angry and frustrated' at the Premier's refusal to leave the leafy suburbs of Sydney's North Shore to see the harsh realities of lockdown life in the west. (Pictured, Bankstown residents sitting in a park on Tuesday)
'She needs to personalise it because everyone here is struggling, individuals are hurting.
'We have mothers, fathers and children in three different hospitals, people trying to isolate in the same homes, people unable to get food, people needing support whether its food vouchers, clothes, finances...
'There are people stuck at home while their businesses crumble, the mental health issues - people are doing it tough.
'There's a whole heap of problems here, which are being faced by our community and she just doesn't want to seem to listen. She's not listening.
An invitation for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to meet the 12 mayors of the worst affected areas was dismissed by her office on Tuesday afternoon because her diary was too full. (Pictured, a resident in Sydney's Inner West walking a dog on Wednesday)
Locals have been frustrated by vaccination hubs with long queues for Pfizer, like this one pictured at Bankstown PCYC, while another delivering AstraZeneca shots lies almost empty
'Come and feel what your people feel. You represent us and we're all meant to be in this together and we're all equal.
'It's not such a hard thing - we're only 25 minutes away from her office.'
The invitation to meet was rejected by the Premier's office who forwarded the request to the Minister of Local Government instead.
'I hope you will appreciate the Premier receives a significant number of diary requests and she is unable to accept them all,' a government staffer replied.
'On this occasion, the Premier will be unable to accept your meeting request.'
An invitation for Premier Gladys Berejiklian, pictured, to meet the 12 mayors of the worst affected areas was rejected by her office on Tuesday afternoon because her diary was too full
The invitation to meet was forwarded to the Minister for Local Government