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Deputy Premier Paul Toole hits back at claims Kerry Chant didn’t endorse changes to road map

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NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole has hit back at claims the state’s top doctor “did not endorse” last minute changes made to the road map.

Dr Kerry Chant was absent from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s press conference on Thursday where he announced several changes to the state’s reopening plan.

The changes included expanding the number of people allowed to gather indoors and outdoors, moving the reopening of schools and also raising the cap on funerals and weddings.

It has been widely reported that Dr Chant didn’t support the adjustments and her absence from the announcement added fuel to the fire.

PREMIER PRESSER
Camera IconNSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole hit back at claims the CHO didn’t endorse the changes. NCA NewsWire / Adam Yip Credit: News Corp Australia

But Mr Toole hit back at those claims during an interview with Sunrise on Friday morning.

He said “that wasn’t the case”.

“It was endorsed by Kerry Chant and it was endorsed by NSW Health,” he said.

“We had a crisis cabinet the day before and Kerry Chant was in that meeting. We don’t make decisions without the support of NSW Health and Dr Kerry Chant.”

Mr Toole was chosen as the state’s new deputy on Wednesday just days after John Barilaro sensationally quit politics.

Mr Toole praised Dr Chant and said she had done an “amazing job” and was the “face of health for this state”.

“It’s a delicate balance but we want to get it right,” he said of the state’s road map.

COVID PRESSER
Camera IconPeople were wondering where Kerry Chant was during Thursday’s press conference. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

On Thursday night 9 News political reporter Chris O’Keefe tweeted that he had “confirmed Dr Chant did not endorse this new road map.”

“The chief health officer warned the new Premier these changes come with risk, but the decision was ultimately a matter for the government. A shift from Perrottet away from ‘the health advice’,” he said.

Mr Perrottet was questioned by Mr O’Keefe on Thursday about Dr Chant’s absence.

“What does it say to your respect of Dr Kerry Chant that you wouldn’t invite her here today as one of your first major (press conferences). It is a bit disrespectful isn’t it?” Mr O’Keefe asked.

But Mr Perrottet fired back: “Dr Chant is one of my favourite constituents in Epping.”

“We’ve always had a great relationship. But … we are moving away from 11am press conferences, the health numbers will now be provided (at 9am).”

The Premier was pressed again on why the top doctor would not be there during a health crisis.

“It’s also an economic crisis as well,” Mr Perrottet said before claiming he “sat down” with Dr Chant to discuss “sensible amendments”.

NSW residents will be given more freedoms from Monday after the state achieved its 70 per cent double dose target.

These include the reopening of gyms, hairdressers, restaurants and pubs, all with strict density limits, as well as expanding the number of people allowed to gather inside and outside the home.

Freedoms only apply to people who are fully vaccinated.

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