The NSW Government has introduced a new permit system requiring people to receive approval before travelling from Sydney to Newcastle.

Sydneysiders will need a permit to travel into regional NSW

From Saturday, August 21, permits made available via Service NSW will be required to enter regional NSW for work, second home maintenance, or to view real estate.

The permit concept comes as NSW Police continue to issue fines to travellers breaching public health orders and attempting to enter regional NSW without an essential reason.

State Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said it was disappointing that it had taken several weeks to be implemented but was better late than never.

“The message to Greater Sydney residents is clear – stay home and do not come to Newcastle unless it is absolutely essential,” he said.

State Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery has been vocal in tightening travel loopholes and said it was great that community concerns had finally been listened to.

“It was clear from the outset of this current lockdown period that people were travelling from Sydney for any reason and without any real scrutiny,” she said.

“As a result of that, we saw people travel here and spread the virus throughout our community.

“This will now limit the movement of people and only allow those who are essential workers to travel here.”

A permit is needed to enter NSW for:

  • Authorised workers from LGAs of concern.
  • Those inspecting real estate. Any person inspecting real estate in the regions must now genuinely need a home to live in (no investment properties); and
  • Those travelling to your second home. This is now only allowed if you are using the home for work accommodation or if the home requires urgent maintenance and repairs (if so, only one person may travel there).

The increased fines for Public Health Order breaches:

  • $5000 on-the-spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules.
  • $5000 on-the-spot fine for lying on a permit (already a criminal offence).
  • $5000 on-the-spot fine for lying to a contact tracer (already a criminal offence).
  • $3000 on-the-spot fine for breaching the two-person outdoor exercise/recreation rule.
  • $3000 on-the-spot fine for breaching rules around entry into regional NSW for authorised work, inspecting real estate and travelling to your second home.

The permits also come as a part of Operation STAY AT HOME, which is now in force across the state. The NSW Police Force and Australian Defence Force will ensure citizens comply with the current public health orders.

For this operation, 1400 officers attached to Traffic and Highway Patrol Command will be dedicated to static and mobile COVID-19 compliance regulations on the roads.

In addition to the 300 already deployed, 500 Australian Defence Force troops will assist with compliance.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the only way to get out of the COVID-19 crisis was to support each other and respect the stay-at-home order.

“We’ve had to tighten the current public health orders because of the minority who exploited them. Enough is enough. If you do it, you will get fined,” he said.

The stay-at-home order applies to all in NSW and means people must not venture further than their local government area. If they need to shop or exercise, they must do so within 5km of their home.

Reasons for leaving home include shopping for essentials, medical care, work, schooling, or compassionate reasons.

Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon, Metropolitan Field Operations, said the operation would see police utilising some of the strongest powers ever given.

“The level of non-compliance by some members of the community is unacceptable, and we will be doubling down with compliance and enforcement to make sure we get ahead of the Delta strain,” Lanyon said.

“It only takes one person to do the wrong thing to facilitate considerable spread of the virus.

“We will be issuing $5000 fines to people and closing any businesses which continue to breach the health orders and will not apologise for these increased enforcement efforts going forward.”

Deputy Commissioner Mick Willing, Regional NSW Field Operations, said roadblocks would also be on main arterial roads and backroads.

“These operations will continue to expand throughout this week in order to enforce the permit system announced by the NSW Government.”

NSW police also require residents to carry proof of address at all times when outside of the home.

More information on lockdown restrictions can be found on the NSW government website.

Hayley McMahon

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