NSW to relax social distancing restrictions, building projects to be fast-tracked

NSW to relax social distancing restrictions, building projects to be fast-tracked

Social distancing measures in New South Wales will be relaxed this Friday as the state continues with its Covid-19 testing blitz.

From Friday two adults will be able to visit anybody else in their homes on the basis of care or reducing social isolation.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says this measure is intended to improve mental health conditions for individuals across the state.

"We know that for many people they've been cooped up in their homes for a number of weeks, and with the exception of exercising, medical needs or buying what they need to or going to work, many people have been isolated in their home," says Berejiklian.

"Obviously if you've got young children it's OK to take them with you, but a maximum of two adults will be able to visit anybody."

Good social distancing (staying 1.5 metres apart from one another) will still apply, especially if visiting someone over the age of 70 with comorbidity.

The relaxation of the social distancing measures comes as NSW has been embarking on a major testing regime.

The State is conducting at least 8,000 tests per day every day of the week, and Berejiklian has encouraged anyone with the mildest of symptoms to go and get tested.

The Premier has stressed that the month of May will look different for NSW residents; students are set to resume face-to-face teaching on 11 May and retail activity is expected to recommence at the same time.

"We encourage people to buy what they need to buy but please make sure that when you're in those shops you follow all the hygiene requirements and of course the retail outlets themselves have to follow these requirements in terms of making sure they have social distancing in their stores and they also have hand sanitiser available," says Berejiklian.

As of this morning NSW has reported five new cases of Covid-19, bringing the state's total to 3,009 . Those new cases have been linked to a cluster, meaning there has been no 'community transmission' occurring.

Two new cases were also reported in Victoria this morning.

Nationally there have been 6,728 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 1,351 in Victoria, 1,033 in Queensland, 549 in Western Australia, 438 in South Australia, 214 in Tasmania, 106 in the Australian Capital Territory, and 28 in the Northern Territory.

There are currently 1,040 active cases reported across the country. 

NSW to fast-track key construction projects

As part of New South Wale's economic recovery, the State Government will fast-track key construction projects.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes says fast-tracking builds is one of the main levers the state can pull to stimulate economic growth.

"We know that almost 400,000 people employed across New South Wales are employed directly in the building and construction industries," says Stokes.

"And more broadly almost one in four workers in New South Wales is indirectly linked to jobs in construction, in planning and development processes.

"Today Government is announcing criteria for fast-tracking projects through the planning system, those projects identified as having the greatest jobs benefit, the greatest investment benefit, and the greatest public benefit for the people of New South Wales."

There are 24 new projects that have been identified to go through this fast-tracked process which will create almost 9,500 new jobs, attract $7.54 billion in capital investment, generate more than 4,400 new homes and more than 32 hectares of new parkland and public open spaces.

Related story: WA pledges funds for land tax relief and construction

Updated at 9:50am AEST on 28 April 2020.

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