NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian turned down an invitation to meet with the mayors of the 12 Western Sydney LGAs of concern, Penrith magazine the Western Weekender reports.

The mayors wanted to discuss the strict lockdown imposed on their suburbs to clear up the public’s confusion and uncertainty. Now they’re extremely pissed that the Premier tried to fob them off to Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock (whomst?) instead.

“I’m completely lost as to why our effort to have an open conversation with the Premier was rejected and alarmed that the LGNSW request to meet with any representative from the ‘Areas of Concern’ was declined,” Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown told the Western Weekender.

“It’s policy without heart; we have challenges and issues here that we’d like to discuss. Every decision, restriction, and compliance request passed down has a real impact on our people, families, workers, and employers who are already doing it tough.”

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour also slammed Berejiklian for turning down their invitation, adding that he is literally “only a phone call away.”

“This blatant snub is despite the Premier holding daily news conferences and assuring the community she is listening to, and wants to hear from, community leaders,” he wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

“Premier, we represent more than two million people and we have much to tell you on behalf of our communities.”

The email from the Premier’s office – which was also seen by the ABC – prompted journalists to question Berejiklian about it at Wednesday’s coronavirus press conference.

“Can I say that I would always welcome meeting with community leaders and I spoke virtually to hundreds of them, and in many of the conversations I’ve had, those local mayors have been directly involved,” she said.

“I am not certain about the invitation they’re talking about, but certainly there have been numerous occasions where I have engaged, the Minister has engaged, or the members of our other agencies have directly engaged with broader community leaders, and that is ongoing.”

Berejiklian then claimed that she had already been in touch with the mayors this whole time, in fact.

“I have been doing it already, and I have already been talking with them on many occasions to community leaders, and it’s ongoing of course,” she told reporters.

“But there was more than just a local government that is involved, there are community leaders who represent hundreds of thousands of people, so of courses the mayors will be involved in that process, but so will religious leaders and so will our cultural leaders. This is an ongoing, evolving process.”

Still, it would’ve been more straightforward to say “yes” to the mayors’ invitation.

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