Premier’s subtle dig at Gladys as roadmap changes introduced

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has wasted no time in his new role, announcing some key changes to the state's Covid response – including two major tweaks to the state's roadmap.

On Wednesday, Mr Perrottet had the privilege of announcing 70 per cent of eligible residents aged 16 and above were fully vaccinated, triggering the first step of the roadmap next Monday.

And despite hope growing of an earlier easing of restrictions, Mr Perrottet is facing criticism over a lack of clarity for businesses come October 11 when Sydney takes its first major step to reopening.

He met with key officials for a significant crisis cabinet meeting late on Wednesday to talk through any potential tweaks to the state's exit from restrictions beyond that.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has promised a raft of changes on Thursday. Source: ABC
Premier Dominic Perrottet has promised a raft of changes on Thursday. Source: ABC

Changes to indoor swimming and masks mandate in offices

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast on Thursday morning, he revealed children will return to indoor swimming pools from Monday and said an end to compulsory masks in offices will be brought forward.

He is also reportedly considering a change to nightclubs' reopening date.

Mr Perrottet promised a "whole range of other changes" later in the day.

In a major shift as the state moves towards economic recovery, crisis cabinet will be renamed the Covid and Economic Recovery Committee.

This will see NSW Chief Economist Stephen Walters play a key part in discussions.

"We must have a sharp focus on how we support businesses and ensure people return to work and give the NSW economy the best chance of bouncing back," Mr Perrottet said.

Perrottet's subtle dig at Berejiklian

He will also make changes to how Covid figures are delivered to the state, bringing the 11am update forward by two hours to 9am – a move that could be interpreted as a subtle dig at his predecessor.

“I’ll make the decisions in relation to addressing my very good friends in the press at the time that I think is most appropriate,” he said.

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell said it was clear Mr Perrottet did not want to simply become the "Covid numbers premier".

“Gladys Berejiklian, part of the aura she created around herself were those 11am pressers – here are the secret numbers, and that’s the end of that,” he said.

Ms Berejiklian said last month she was moving away from daily press conferences – a move which sparked heated debate over whether such a move was appropriate amid a daunting Delta outbreak.

Yet Clennell says Mr Perrottet has taken it further and is unwilling to "make a big song and dance" over the daily update each day.

Walkers at Bondi beach.
Sydney's lockdown will end Monday but Premier Dominic Perrottet is promising even greater freedoms earlier than expected. Source: Getty

Businesses in the dark over imminent reopening, Labor says

With an end to lockdown just days away, Labor leader Chris Minns says many businesses are still in the dark over what is required of them to reopen.

"What's the protocol and procedure for business?" he told reporters on Wednesday,

"What are the rules that will be in place to make sure that they've got the tools they need to make sure that their place of business is safe, their employees are protected and that their customers are able to come into their shop?"

Member for Murray Helen Dalton says she has also fielded calls from confused constituents.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP says many workers in regional NSW are unsure if they can attend work when the state re-opens on Monday following mixed vaccination messaging from the government.

Gladys Berejiklian as premier said all regional NSW staff would need to be fully vaccinated to return to work on October 11, Ms Dalton said.

But said she had been inundated with confused callers after the government on Sunday said workers were required to have only one vaccine dose.

"I'm in the same boat as everyone else. The NSW government can't even tell me which of my own electorate office staff are allowed to work," she said.

with AAP

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