One minute's warning – Sydney mayor slams new lockdown as ‘madness’

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A mayor in Sydney’s west has criticised the NSW Government’s latest Covid restrictions claiming he was only told about them one minute before they were announced.

Steve Christou, the Mayor of Cumberland Council which is one of 12 LGAs that has to adhere to a curfew, unleashed on the the NSW Government after Friday’s announcement.

“Well, it is dictatorial madness, it is something out of a Communist regime,” Cr Christou told the ABC.

“The phone and emails have not stopped coming in, saying that this is putting our community on its knees.

“And that is exactly what is happening.”

Cumberland City Mayor Steve Christou is pictured.
Cumberland City Mayor Steve Christou has been critical of the NSW Government's response to communities in Sydney's west during the most recent outbreak. Source: 7News

The 12 LGAs will have to adhere to a curfew between 9pm until 5am from Monday and exercise will only be permitted outside for an hour a day. Childcare workers and disability support workers in those 12 LGAs will have to be fully vaccinated by August 30.

These are of course on top of the restrictions across Greater Sydney as a whole which include mandatory mask wearing outside.

Covid hotspot residents 'among the state's poorest'

Cr Christou claims he was only informed of the changes via a phone call just one minute before the 11am daily press conference on Friday which he called “heartbreaking and frustrating”.

He said he understands Cumberland City is a Covid hotspot but called his constituents among the "poorest" in NSW, and claims many are struggling to pay for bills and food with further restrictions only exacerbating things.

The mayor has previously criticised measures brought in by the state government and called the last lockdown extension, which was lengthened to August 28, as “Armageddon” for his constituents.

A client arrives at the newly opened South Western Sydney Vaccination Centre at Macquarie Fields in Sydney, Australia.
A man walks outside the South Western Sydney Vaccination Centre at Macquarie Fields. Source: Getty Images

That date has also now been pushed back, with lockdown now scheduled to finish at the end of September.

Residents in southwest and western Sydney’s suburbs, declared as areas of concern by the NSW Government, have previously described the heavy police and ADF personnel presence as “like North Korea”.

Cr Christou told Sky News at the time the deployment of troops was “an extreme measure” and condemned the decision.

NSW recorded 644 new cases of community-transmitted Covid-19 on Friday. The premier said "the vast majority of cases" are in western and southwestern Sydney.  

Mayor slammed for appearance on TV game show

Cr Christou faced criticism for appearing on a television quiz show in the same week that Sydney recorded its highest daily rate of Covid infections since the pandemic began.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the mayor taped an episode of The Hundred, a Nine Network show hosted by comedian Andy Lee, on Thursday.

While Cr Christou told the publication the filming only required a "minimal time commitment", the move came to a shock to Police Minister David Elliott.

“It’s disappointing that a local government mayor who was very keen to pass judgment on our Premier all of a sudden has time to appear on reality TV when by his own admission his constituents are suffering under the challenges of lockdown," Mr Elliott told the Daily Telegraph.

Cr Christou said he was able to film in his own time from his home.

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