Member for Riverstone Kevin Conolly has firmly opposed any proposal to deny western Sydney workers the right to earn a living if they are not vaccinated.
“Vaccination is a great tool to protect people against the virus. We can all see that vaccinated people are not ending up in ICU and are not dying. I want to see NSW reach high levels of vaccination.
“But vaccination should never be made compulsory. Any plan which prevents people from earning a living for themselves and their families unless they comply with a directive to be vaccinated amounts to coercion.
“This proposal has crossed a line which robs people of the basic freedom to decide for themselves what medical treatment they accept.
“It uses their livelihoods and their families’ financial security as leverage to coerce people to make a decision they may not be ready to make.
“In my view the proposal is based on the false premise that we have no alternative. In fact, there are rapid testing technologies being left unused on the shelf while NSW persists with slow PCR testing with 24 hour turnaround times.
“We’ll never keep up with Delta if we refuse to use the fastest methods available.
“Testing, Tracing and Isolating (TTI) is effective at breaking the transmission chain of a virus. But it needs to be very fast to work against Delta.
“NSW Health should be conducting broad scale surveillance testing on workers in western Sydney hotspots using rapid tests, with results available in less than an hour. Then we can enable as many workers as possible, not just those in construction, to go back to work.
“Give workers a choice between vaccination and 3 day testing and let them all get back on the job.
“I believe that in time nearly everyone will choose to be vaccinated. But let that be their choice and done when they feel ready,” said Mr Conolly.