NSW Police will not fine Hillsong over 'shocking' scenes

·3-min read

Hillsong church will not be fined for hosting an event that involved singing and dancing, which is currently prohibited under NSW's public health orders.

In a statement, NSW Police said "no infringement will be issued" to the organisers of the event.

"NSW Police have attended an event in the Newcastle area and have spoken with organisers," Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter Glynn said.

Screenshots posted from a video which looks to be taken at the Hillsong camp.
Videos posted on the social media accounts of the event show hundreds of people gathering and dancing. Source: Twitter

"Following discussions with organisers and after consultation with NSW Health, no infringement will be issued.

"Event organisers are aware of their obligations under the Public Health Orders, and NSW Police will continue to ensure ongoing compliance."

Hillsong organisers insist it was not a music festival

Hillsong's Wildlife Summer Camp is a three-day "summer camp" held near Newcastle in NSW.

A statement from Hillsong Church said it had "always" abided by public health orders and took Covid safe procedures very seriously, adding they had ceased singing and dancing under instruction from NSW Health.

"Ensuring the safety of those attending Hillsong events, and supporting the wider community effort to keep Australia safe, are both priorities for our church," the statement read.

"It is important to clarify that the current youth camps we are holding are not music festivals."

The religious organisation said the events were for high-school-aged students, which include sporting activities and games.

"All of these factors have been communicated by the NSW Government as low-risk as described under current guidelines. We have also implemented strict Covid safe procedures before and during each camp which include professional paramedics onsite 24 hours per day with testing capabilities.

A young man facing a stage with lots of people in front of him.
The NSW Government was slammed for the double standards as restrictions force musicians to cancel events. Source: Facebook

"However we regret giving any perception that we were not playing our part to keep NSW safe and we sincerely apologise to the community at large. Our heart is for people, and loving and caring for all people is at the core of our church.

"We have since spoken to NSW Health and received instruction to cease congregant/student singing and dancing during the services that occur on the campsite and have immediately and willingly enacted that instruction."

Premier 'completely shocked' by event

Videos of the event — showing hundreds singing and dancing —outraged the Australian music industry, many of whom have had events cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was "completely shocked" by the footage.

"I echo the frustration and anger that people right across the state felt," he said on Friday.

"What has got us through the last two years has been the efforts and sacrifices that many have made to keep people safe.

"That means that many businesses have had to tailor the way that they operate, many people have had to change their behaviour to keep people safe."

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