The Premier’s recent declaration of a national emergency is an admission of the importance our region plays to the State and National economy. I have no doubt we will overcome this pandemic, but we will need a long sought lift in Government investment.

I have lived in and around Liverpool my entire life. In those 40 years, our community has faced many challenges. Some have been man made, like unemployment, corruption and crime, while others have been natural, like flooding and bushfires. The current COVID-19 outbreak, which has heavily impacted South West Sydney, is the latest such challenge.

When called upon, our community always does what’s needed to protect our families, friends and neighbours. We are a loyal, hardworking and community minded people. These qualities are the reason I chose Liverpool as the place to raise my family.

I have been immensely proud to see my community stand up and do the right thing when needed during this crisis. We do not need 100 additional police, what we do need are 100 additional health workers.

The Premier’s declaration of a national emergency was an admission that vaccination is our only way forward. It was also an admission that the people of South West Sydney are the essential workers that keep our city and State going. If you lock us down, New South Wales grinds to a halt.

The government must now match that recognition with appropriate investment in infrastructure and services. Our public transport systems are inadequate, roads are congested and schools overcrowded.

Of major concern, is the clear lack of investment in health. A recent State parliamentary inquiry found health services in South Western Sydney are underfunded by almost $800 on average when compared to other areas of Sydney.

We do not yet know the long-term health effects of COVID-19. However, it is likely those with pre-existing conditions and from low socio-economic backgrounds will be most impacted by “long COVID.” With COVID-19 infections continuing to rise in our region, we urgently need substantial and sustained investment in front line health services.

We are Sydney’s teachers, nurses and drivers. We build the office towers, houses and roads. We produce, package and deliver the food. If we must work, we must be vaccinated and we must be healthy.