Ballina MP Tamara Smith welcomed the announcement that the Northern Rivers can move out of lockdown this weekend, saying that every resident and business-owner will be greatly relieved by the news.
"With no cases in our area, giving people the freedom to leave their homes, put their kids back in school and go about their business was the only sensible and fair move", Ms Smith said.
"It puts an end to an untenable, one-size-fits-all reaction to COVID-19 from the LNP," Ms Smith said. "People were quite rightly mystified and angry that they had been lumped in with Greater Sydney once there were no cases in the region, and no community transmission."
"Our community understands that if there is a COVID-19 case locally that there needs to be containment. But a precautionary model of shutting down the whole state when vast areas of the state have no cases, is extreme and has smashed regional economies and people's trust in the decisions coming out of Macquarie Street."
"My office has been inundated with hundreds of constituent questions and concerns each week since lockdown, and we have advocated on behalf of many businesses who are facing imminent closure. Putting people through that kind of anxiety and financial strain, without compelling reasons should never happen."
"One of our previously thriving clubs has shared the news that they had fallen $85,000 in debt within two weeks of the lockdown, yet there is still no indication of support from government for them or the many businesses that are struggling. Many of these businesses are family-run, so the impact extends to all members of our community. As we come out of lockdown I encourage people to support our businesses by shopping local.
"We continue to advocate for a more nuanced approach to COVID-19 - a tiered system of lockdown taking every region's unique situation into consideration."
"I have expressed to the Premier that the moment a community is put into lockdown financial assistance should be made available for that community. Five weeks into lockdown and we still do not have financial assistance suitable for the majority of our local businesses. It is irresponsible to close down a local economy without financial support."
"Common sense has prevailed and we can now get on with the task of securing enough vaccines for everyone in our community and recovering."