Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke has called out the NSW government for its slow response to the initial Bondi COVID-19 cluster, saying that the class differences between the eastern suburbs and western Sydney are the reason case numbers are still rising.

Speaking to ABC Insiders, Tony Burke (whose electorate is largely in the Bankstown-Canterbury area of Sydney) said people in western Sydney feel that if Bondi had been locked down early on during the second wave, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

“You increasingly hear the frustration that, for the restrictions, the sickness and the deaths that are starting to come through in the community, [they feel] it would not have happened if they had locked down Bondi, and there is a huge frustration about that,” Burke told ABC Insiders on Sunday.

“We also know it would not have happened if we had a proper quarantine system, it would not have happened if we had a proper vaccine rollout in the country,” he said.

But the part of the interview that was most important to me, was Burke’s acknowledgement of the class differences between the eastern and western suburbs of Sydney, and how this affects transmission of the virus and rising case numbers.

When asked how western Sydney communities would feel if restrictions were eased in the eastern suburbs earlier, Burke said western Sydney residents would be “furious”.

“We are the home of essential workers,” Burke said.

“We don’t have that many people who can do their work at home from a laptop. We have to go out into a whole lot of different parts of Sydney to work, to do essential work, to stack shelves, to drive vehicles, to work on logistics, to work in aged care.