Going to the coast “extraordinarily selfish”, Barr says

Ian Bushnell 30 March 2020 61
Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has advised Canberrans to “just stay home”. Photo: Region Media.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has labelled anybody considering heading to the South Coast as ”extraordinarily selfish” in the current health emergency, even if they have a holiday home there.

He urged Canberrans to stay home, saying the risk of spreading the virus was too great, the small coastal communities did not have the capacity to support thousands of visitors and there was no welcome mat out.

“We have heard very clearly from local mayors and local members that people really shouldn’t do that,” he said at a press conference this afternoon at which he announced the ACT had suffered its first coronavirus death.

”There are no ICU beds in South Coast hospitals. These communities do not need extra people shopping in their supermarkets.

“Stay in Canberra. That’s the best thing you can do for the South Coast community and your own community.”

While he said there was no legal way to stop people who owned property on the coast travelling there, the ”incredibly strong guidance” was to think twice about it.

“Why would you do that in light of what’s happening in this country and around the world?” he asked.

“It just strikes me as extraordinarily selfish, and if you can stay in Canberra safely you should avoid unnecessary travel.”

There were always exceptions ”but the idea you go down there for a holiday now really is selfish”.

Mr Barr also announced further closures of public spaces in the ACT in response to the greater restrictions announced last night by the Prime Minister.

From midday today all playgrounds, outdoor fitness stations, barbecues, the Tidbinbilla and Namadgi Visitor Information Centres, camping grounds, cottages in parks and reserves are closed. All bookings will be refunded.

Namadgi National Park is also closed.

But Mr Barr said some people continued to congregate, and with each wave of closures people tended to flock to what remained open and ignore the broader message.

“It’s people who move the virus,” he said. “Is my trip outside my home potentially going to infect me or someone else? That’s a very good starting point.”

Mr Barr also affirmed that a package of legislation will go before the Legislative Assembly on Thursday to address a variety of COVID-19 responses including commercial and residential tenancies.

He said National Cabinet had approved a series of guiding principles for the states and territories to follow that would stop evictions, put businesses into hibernation and provide tax incentives for landlords to come to amicable terms with their tenants.

“We’re looking for a sharing of the burden across government, banks, landlords and tenants, working together to reach outcomes that will enable businesses to go into hibernation during this period,” Mr Barr said.

It is expected that tomorrow the government will announce a smaller stimulus package, which will involve ACT Government tenants.

He also flagged significant further announcements from the federal and ACT governments on these and other economic survival measures.

He said further non-essential retail closures were also on National Cabinet’s agenda.

Mr Barr said the ACT Government was focused on supporting vulnerable households so they could access essentials, working with Foodbank, OzHarvest and the Canberra Relief Network.

He welcomed a direction from the Australian Public Service Commission that Australian Government public servants work from home, where possible, a topic he said he had raised in National Cabinet many times.

“If people still experience problems raise them with your manager, your union and, ultimately, with me, and I will hand those on,” he said.

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61 Responses to Going to the coast “extraordinarily selfish”, Barr says
old canberran old canberran 5:51 pm 02 Apr 20

Well said Andrew but you should have added the Far South Coast as a lot of Canberrans come here to Merimbula, Tathra and Eden over Easter and Xmas. We’d love to have them but we don’t have the resources to cope with additional people. Most of the shops are closed, nearly all of the accommodation units are closed, the beaches are closed and the supermarkets have several empty shelves. There is nothing here for you to come to.

Mick Tregonning Mick Tregonning 8:33 pm 31 Mar 20

I hate how the government works generally but we’re all new to this! Not many of us have been alive during something like this before...

Self isolation is the right thing to do... for everyone! I’m doing it and I feel good about It! Selfishness isn’t needed right now!

knuckles knuckles 2:00 pm 31 Mar 20

And people from the coast should not be travelling to the ACT, even for medical appointments. They could be exposed to the virus and take it back with them, plus we need ACT medical resources for ACT residents.

Trev Astle Trev Astle 9:30 am 31 Mar 20

I'm going mad in Home Detention, Mr Barr. Out and off on 8th April. 14 days is more than enough.

    David Brown David Brown 9:31 am 31 Mar 20

    Trev Astle I guess you are not planning to become an astronaut?

    Trev Astle Trev Astle 9:41 am 31 Mar 20

    David Brown Yes and I'm putting my plans for white collar crime on hold, David.😏😏

    Bob Worthington Bob Worthington 11:18 am 31 Mar 20

    Trev Astle you need coloring-in books and a load of pencils.

    David Brown David Brown 12:01 pm 31 Mar 20

    Trev Astle If you need some books to read just let me know. I have lots more of The Saint.

David Brown David Brown 9:26 am 31 Mar 20

Last night I saw Mogo inviting us to their pop up shopping centre. I commented that I thought they might have missed the boat.

Paul Eldridge Paul Eldridge 3:53 am 31 Mar 20

Close the border then. Easy fix.

Be brave..

Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 2:43 am 31 Mar 20

Probably shouldn't denounce them as selfish, now they'll strive for that title (they love it), and that'll egg them on to go anyway!

Jennifer Fraser-Brown Jennifer Fraser-Brown 10:43 pm 30 Mar 20

Kathryn Brown ha! I wonder if they will ignore this as well as the fire warnings!

    Kathryn Brown Kathryn Brown 10:48 pm 30 Mar 20

    Jennifer Fraser-Brown There are far too many know-it-alls who think they are above the advice + warnings.

Michelle Guerrero Michelle Guerrero 10:31 pm 30 Mar 20

What about for elderly people who live in built up apartments? There are a few elderly people in my apartment block who have gone down to their coastal homes (in isolation) for safety. The entryway way, elevator, letter boxes at the apartment etc are all risks for them...

    Linda Johnston Linda Johnston 1:39 am 31 Mar 20

    Michelle Guerrero I suspect the Chief Minister was referring to those who were going to spend a few days at the coast, not about someone who has relocated for their own safety.

    Michelle Guerrero Michelle Guerrero 7:46 am 31 Mar 20

    Well I still see the majority of people still touching with their hands, and a lot of people using the support railings. A lot of people feel safer to self isolate in an empty house on their own instead of an apartment block swarming with hundreds of confined people. For some people this isn't about a holiday, it's about truly self isolating themselves. One of the students I teach has severe asthma. Their family has rented an entire house on acreage in Milton so he can go outside and play without running in to anyone and anything.

    Emma A Holliday Emma A Holliday 7:04 am 02 Apr 20

    Michelle Guerrero while it seems to make sense this isn’t about risk it’s about infrastructure. The coastal areas simply don’t have the hospital beds to care for extra sick coming in from

    Interstate and/or the extra spread of the virus from those travellers to the local community

maxblues maxblues 8:37 pm 30 Mar 20

Heading to South Coast for ‘extraordinary shellfish’?

Bec O'Brien Bec O'Brien 8:31 pm 30 Mar 20

I was astounded by the number of people at Gunghalin Lakes Golf course. I was going for a walk in the late afternoon to avoid people.

    Richard Harriss Richard Harriss 10:29 pm 30 Mar 20

    if they play anything like me then social distancing is not a problem!

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:10 pm 30 Mar 20

Off to the coast until the worst of the crisis has passed? – reminds me of this –


    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:22 am 31 Mar 20

    That was a great episode. They were on rations in GB then too.

Ashlee Bullock Ashlee Bullock 7:58 pm 30 Mar 20

Becci Hurley large number of elderly residents and no ICU. Canberra residents need to stay away.

    Becci Hurley Becci Hurley 8:14 pm 30 Mar 20

    Ashlee Bullock it’s not just Canberra people! Holiday home or not they shouldn’t be coming!

    Lyn Christie Lyn Christie 8:29 pm 30 Mar 20

    Becci Hurley agree. Non residents should not be there.

Jesse Cox Jesse Cox 7:11 pm 30 Mar 20

Dosent say anything about central/north coast Lauren Tye ,

Alison Brittliff Alison Brittliff 6:58 pm 30 Mar 20

I still think there’s people not taking it seriously enough yet

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 9:21 pm 30 Mar 20

    Alison Brittliff agree. Those people think it will never happen to them. It will if they keep going out!

Melissa Flis Melissa Flis 6:57 pm 30 Mar 20

Sue Hockey what I was talking about xx

Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 6:54 pm 30 Mar 20

People are so selfish

John Keen John Keen 6:54 pm 30 Mar 20

Are you reading the newspapers Tommy Keen ?

Jeanette Atkins Jeanette Atkins 6:53 pm 30 Mar 20

Thank you!!! When it’s all over, we will welcome you with open arms (depending on distancing) Tathra, NSW 😄❤️

Lee-anne Burton Lee-anne Burton 6:52 pm 30 Mar 20

Absolutely disgusting when you have ignorant people here holidaying and abuse a permanent resident, takes a shower after work , plays a couple of songs at daytime while having a shower to come out and have a isolating Sydney sider to tell him to turn his music down coz she’s on vacation in a holiday home and working from there 😡

    Lyn Christie Lyn Christie 8:26 pm 30 Mar 20

    Lee-anne Burton ACT plates are easily spotted, but also wonder how many NSW folks are holidaying down there?

    Elaine Rigter Elaine Rigter 10:50 pm 30 Mar 20

    Lee-anne Burton lots! Too many! We know which homes are normally inhabited by the locals... Thankfully some packed up and went home today.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 2:35 pm 31 Mar 20

    Elaine Rigter don't worry. They will be back next weekend!

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 4:18 pm 31 Mar 20

    Elaine Rigter because it is how they roll. Rules only apply to other people.

    Elaine Rigter Elaine Rigter 4:40 pm 31 Mar 20

    Bill Gemmell sadly it seems that way!

    Elaine Rigter Elaine Rigter 6:46 pm 31 Mar 20

    Just read the NSW Govt Gazette - having a holiday is not a reasonable excuse, and you need to be at your place of residence - so if you can’t produce a drivers license with an address...

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:45 pm 31 Mar 20

    Elaine Rigter will make little difference to the self-entitled canberran speeding to the coast. A roadblock might.

    Elaine Rigter Elaine Rigter 7:49 pm 31 Mar 20

    Bill Gemmell but if they get pulled over here with different plates on...

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:50 pm 31 Mar 20

    Elaine Rigter too many of them

    Elaine Rigter Elaine Rigter 7:52 pm 31 Mar 20

    Bill Gemmell if they come into town...

    Kevin Mulcahy Kevin Mulcahy 5:54 pm 02 Apr 20

    Lyn, the tourist here on the Far South Coast come mainly from Victoria and Canberra. NSW people tend to go North for holidays

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