Arts Minister resigns after self-isolating at Pearl Beach
NSW Arts Minister Mr Don Harwin resigned from Cabinet on April 10 after being fined $1000 for self-isolating at his holiday home in Pearl Beach, instead of his primary residence in Sydney.
Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch said the incident should serve as a stark reminder to anyone holidaying on the Peninsula to go home.
"My advice to any person in a second home or on holidays here is to pack up your kit, like Mr Harwin's done; put your tail between your legs and get back to your primary residence," Ms Tesch said.
"It's devastating and heartbreaking for people who are doing the right thing to have other people flouting the rules.
"I've had a lot of people from Sydney contacting my office to see if they can use their own holiday houses on the Central Coast.
"The answer is a clear no.
"People need to stay in their own backyard and by that I mean stay within the location on their driver's licence or face a $1000 fine."
Mr Harwin was reported on April 9 to have been at his holiday home in Diamond Rd, Pearl Beach, for some weeks and was planning to stay there through the Easter weekend, contrary to directives from Premier Ms Gladys Berejiklian that Sydneysiders should stay at their primary residences to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
Shadow Arts Minister Mr Walt Secord called on the Premier to sack Mr Harwin saying he had "completely ignored" health officials and his own party leaders.
"We are all in this together and we have to stick to the strict rules to protect the community," Mr Secord said.
"Social distancing is about saving lives; Mr Harwin is not above the law."
The same day, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Mr Adam Crouch said he welcomed confirmation from NSW Police Commissioner Mr Mick Fuller that he would investigate the matter.
"The message is simple and it applies to everyone, no matter what your job is," Mr Crouch said.
"Go home and stay home."
Ms Berejiklian fronted the media to reaffirm that she felt "very passionately" about protecting the State's citizens.
"But I can't be responsible for every person's actions," she said.
"Sometimes people have to step up and take personal responsibility.
"I regret and apologise to everybody that someone from my team undertook this activity and the perception is not good.
"I am deeply disappointed."
The Premier made the point that Mr Harwin had been living at Pearl Beach for some weeks and was "technically up there well before the restrictions were in place".
However, on April 10, Mr Harwin tendered his resignation as Minister.
"There is nothing more important than the work of the Government in fighting the coronavirus crisis," he said.
"I will not allow my circumstances to be a distraction from that work and I very much regret that my residential arrangements have become an issue during this time.
"At all times I have sought to act in accordance with public health orders and I sought advice that my living arrangements complied with those orders.
"I remain confident that I have acted in accordance with those orders.
"I know, however, that perception is just as important during these times."
Media releases, 9 Apr 2020
Adam Crouch, Member for Terrigal
Walt Secord. Shadow Arts Minister
Media statement, 10 Apr 2020
Don Harwin , former Arts Minister
Media release, 13 Apr 2020
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford