Minns says Premier 'can't choose when to be accountable'

STEPPING UP: Kogarah MP and NSW opposition leader Chris Minns at his 11am press conference on Monday. Picture: Supplied.
STEPPING UP: Kogarah MP and NSW opposition leader Chris Minns at his 11am press conference on Monday. Picture: Supplied.

Kogarah MP and NSW opposition leader Chris Minns held his own 11am press conference today and questioned why the Premier is avoiding daily scrutiny as the strain on our public health system increases.

Mr Minns said he does not understand the reasoning behind the Premier's decision to not front up at daily COVID briefing press conferences.

"It's hard for us to speculate on why you would cancel the media conferences at the height of the pandemic and we're getting the highest number of transmissions in the community," Mr Minns said.

"October will be the toughest month our public health system has ever had. We need clear communication from the New South Wales Government, and that needs to happen at the 11 o'clock press conferences.

"I'm not suggesting that the Premier needs to front all of them. Yes, there will be other things that need to happen. But over the last three months, the Deputy Premier, the Health Minister, the Chief Health Officer have all fronted those press conferences. So there are other ways of making sure that clear communication can take place."

Gladys Berejiklian was questioned at Sunday's press conference over whether there was a link between her plan to end daily COVID-19 press conferences and an ongoing ICAC investigation.

"I don't have anything to add on that matter," she said. "It would be inappropriate to comment on those ongoing investigations and I have nothing further to say.

"I wish you would all be privy to the conversations we all had about the 11am press conferences; this is all about making that we provide good government for the people of New South Wales."

Mr Minns urged the Premier to revisit her decision and continue to go to the daily press conferences.

"We need them now more than ever, particularly at the height of the pandemic," he said.

"October will be the toughest month that the public health system has ever seen. We will need leadership, constant communication, and, yes, scrutiny of the Government's decisions. However, it should not be up to the Government to decide when they're going to be accountable. That's in the hands of the people of New South Wales.

"So I'm urging the New South Wales Premier, think about the circumstances in which this decision has been made. Think about the consequences of not communicating with millions of people that need up-to-date information. And when parliament isn't sitting, and daily press conferences aren't taking place, accountability will suffer. And we need that now more than ever, particularly at the height of the pandemic."

Mr Minns said his own press conference announcement prompted Ms Berejiklian's return to face the media on Monday.