NSW GOVT ‘TRANSPORT EXEMPTION’ WELCOMED, COMMENDED

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: stock


OVERNIGHT, the NSW state government has updated its website to clarify a ‘transport worker’ exemption further, which includes bus drivers, in the current Sydney LGA lockdown areas, unions highlight.

NSW GOVT ‘TRANSPORT EXEMPTION’ WELCOMED, COMMENDED
The NSW Government has updated ‘authorised workers’ advice on its website that permits them to ‘go to work’; this includes freight, logistics, courier and delivery workers, bus drivers, waste workers and airport workers, the unions highlight.

Both TWU NSW and ARTIO NSW have welcomed the exemption, which permits transport workers to leave the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown LGAs for work, but now also still call on the NSW Government to provide clear advice to workers, employers and those enforcing new restrictions, they explain.

The TWU and ARTIO also call on the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce that this exemption will apply to future snap rule changes, which cause "undue confusion and stress", according to the unions.

The unions yesterday wrote to the NSW Premier for an exemption for transport workers – including bus drivers - to ensure NSW communities are not cut off from essential supplies like food and medicine, passenger transport and waste removal services.

Overnight, presumably in response, the NSW Government updated ‘authorised workers’ advice on its website that permits them to ‘go to work’; this includes freight, logistics, courier and delivery workers, bus drivers, waste workers and airport workers.

Taxi and rideshare drivers were not granted the exemption.

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WELCOME RELIEF

TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen welcomed the exemption, but says ‘future stress and confusion’ must be avoided.

"The exemption will come as a relief to the more than 20,000 transport workers in South-West Sydney who yesterday believed they would not be able to go to work," Olsen explained.

"We commend the NSW Government for responding quickly to our calls for an exemption; however, the advice to workers and operators is still far too sluggish.

"Transport workers have kept this country moving throughout the pandemic. "They are exhausted, but continue to work hard every day because they know how important their work is for our communities.

"They shouldn’t be stressed out by confusion and chaos.

"The NSW Government must provide clear advice, consult with key industries like transport before making snap decisions and announce that this exemption will stand for any future lockdown measures," he said.

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MORE CLARITY

ARTIO NSW secretary Laurie D’Apice says clear advice must be urgently provided to the industry.

"We’re pleased a full exemption has been granted, but transport businesses need more clarity than an updated webpage," D’Apice stated.

"The extreme demand in the transport industry cannot withstand mixed messages that cause delays and frustration," he added.

"Transport is an industry which operates 24/7. Setbacks only damage businesses and the economy and prevent workers from performing their essential duties," he said.

The NSW Government website has been updated to read: "If you live in the Fairfield, Liverpool, or Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas you cannot leave the local government area that you live in for work unless you are an authorised worker."

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