‘I don’t want to see a two-tier society’: NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet

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NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet addressed multicultural media on Wednesday, November 17, for the first time as the New South Wales leader.  

The Premier said the high vaccination rates among teachers will ensure the state keeps schools open. 

“The department continues to follow up with less than those two and a half thousand teachers [who are unvaccinated]… across the state,” the Premier said.

“So it will be a challenge, but I don’t think it’s as substantive as it’s being made out.” 

The Premier went on to say that schools may have to close during an outbreak, but that it’s “better we have schools open than closed”.

He said he recently discussed the issue of vaccinating children with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 

“We’re obviously in [the TGA’s] hands in relation to at what point they deem it appropriate for our younger children to get vaccinated…,” he said.

“We’ll wait and see what the TGA says about the vaccine but I think it’ll promote a lot less disruption to families if children are able to get vaccinated,” NSW Health senior medical advisor Dr. Jan Fizzell added. 

Over 80 percent of those aged 12 to 15 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 73.9 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet addresses the COVID-19 multicultural media press conference (Screenshot: John Voutos)

Premier Perrottet is optimistic the state will enjoy a holiday period surrounded by family and friends regardless of their vaccination status. 

“You’ve had many people separated from their families and friends for a long period of time and everyone’s made enormous sacrifice in that regard. 

“So I think Christmas is going to be a time of immense joy.” 

Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward confirmed that returning international students will also arrive in Australia “just in time for Christmas”. 

“A first flight on the sixth of December will be arriving with about 250 students from over 15 nations…,” she said.

“Then of course, there’ll be a second one just in time for Christmas pairing students from Southeast Asia and India, which is due on the 24th of December.”

Despite the optimism, Perrottet insisted the pandemic is far from over. 

“We need to make sure that we continue to just be careful and look out for each other,” he said.

“…I also don’t want to see, as we move forward into the future, a two-tier society but ultimately those who aren’t vaccinated [inaudible] not looking after themselves.”

“We’ve seen the evidence is very, very clear. When you look at the hospitalisation numbers, when you look at those who are in intensive care, it is very much skewed towards those people who have not been vaccinated.”

NSW recorded 216 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths on Friday.

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