On Wednesday, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro released a statement calling for ‘common courtesy to be infectious’ during the difficult time we are all facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He began with acknowledging the number of restrictions announced this week, each designed to prevent numbers of people gathering together and reduce the spread of the virus.
“Governments need to take decisive actions to mitigate COVID-19, which means shutting down and limiting of activities, causing people’s lives to be thrown off course,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Australian life as we have understood it for decades, as we have become accustomed to, has changed momentously in a matter of weeks, even days.
“There’s no way to sugar coat this reality.”
The Deputy Premier said he has travelled through many country towns in NSW over a number of years, and despite the varying local issues in each community and the unique diversity of each township, there is a commonality – “it’s a sense of resilience and solidarity.”
“As scenes of panic buying, hoarding and individualism unfold within supermarkets, I am reminded that only months ago this country chipped in and deeply sympathise with numerous people affected by the bushfires, bereft of homes and tragically, loved ones,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The anxiety we feel now within our communities is normal – we are going through a difficult and challenging time.”
He said that what we’re feeling in response to this crisis is understandable, but it doesn’t mean we should lose sight of the values we all hold so dearly, that “make us proudly Australian,” those values being a sense of community, fairness and unity – our communal strength.
Mr Barilaro said that the country’s medical officers, hospital staff and health care workers deserve our support and respect, and that our elderly, immunosuppressed, the vulnerable and those with existing medical conditions who are most at risk of COVID-19 need us to do the best we can to keep them safe.
“This can’t be business as usual,” he said. “Our families, friends and communities need protection.
“We need to be accountable to ourselves and each other.”
While the government is providing direction and introducing regulations each day, Mr Barilaro said it is ultimately “up to all of us to follow the instructions.”
The government’s fiscal response to business, families and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is being updates all the time, and financial help will continue to adapt and change as needed.
“In the meantime,” Mr Barilaro said, “stay safe and please heed the expert advice.”