NSW Labor calls for additional COVID-19 testing in south west Sydney

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NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay is calling for the NSW Government to urgently establish additional pop-up testing clinics in south west Sydney, as the Crossroads Hotel cluster grows and long queues wait to get tested in Casula this morning.

“We need an all-out assault on what is a deadly enemy in Sydney’s south west. That means a major expansion of testing. The queues around the Crossroads Hotel today have been enormous. A single overwhelmed pop up clinic in the carpark at the site of the outbreak isn’t enough,” Ms McKay said.

“We know one of the biggest obstacles to increasing tests is convenience. That’s why the NSW Government must expand the hours of this pop-up clinic, and open more pop-ups in the area.”

A pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic has been set up at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula. Photo: ABC News / Jesse Dorsett.

Testing in parts of south west Sydney is well behind the eastern suburbs and inner city, with only 25 people per 1,000 tested in Fairfield and 39 people per 1,000 tested in Liverpool. While in Woollahra 63 people per 1,000 are tested and 66 people per 1,000 are tested in the Inner West. 

“The number of people connected to the Crossroads that need to be tested is not in hundreds but the thousands,” Ms McKay said.

“One pop-up clinic and testing at far away hospitals isn’t enough. The Government needs to urgently scale up testing in South West Sydney and open more local testing facilities.”

Ms McKay also noted that south west Sydney is one of Sydney’s most multicultural areas, with around 70 percent of residents in Liverpool born overseas, and with large communities of people from places such as Iraq, India, Vietnam, Lebanon and Fiji.

“Outreach and multilingual health advice is vital, particularly to older members of our multicultural communities. The NSW Government must make sure that health advice is accessible to people from non-English speaking families,” Ms McKay concluded.

Labor Shadow Minister for Better Public Services, Sophie Cotsis, called on the NSW Government to step up and support and ensure enforcement of venues’ COVID-safe plans. This follows recent reports of crowded venues and non-socially distanced queues. 

“The government has a responsibility to ensure the entire hospitality sector has a COVID-safe plan. That means staff distributing sanitiser, minding queues and ensure strict practice of people filling out forms,” Ms Cotsis said.

“The Berejiklian Government needs to provide better support to venues, and step up enforcement and compliance – if not, a second wave is the risk we face.”

RELATED: Website missing despite NSW Government planning border closure for weeks.

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