News Coronavirus NSW minister Don Harwin fined $1000 for staying at holiday home

NSW minister Don Harwin fined $1000 for staying at holiday home

NSW MP Don Harwin argued against travel restrictions before he was caught visiting his holiday home. Photo: AAP
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A NSW MP has been fined $1000 after staying at his Central Coast holiday home and breaching a coronavirus public health order.

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin was spotted earlier this week at his million-dollar Pearl Beach house which is more than an hour’s drive from his east Sydney primary residence.

In a Cabinet meeting he had argued against the travel restrictions without declaring a conflict of interest, The Daily Telegraph reported.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said police would investigate, noting there was photographic evidence of another person in the holiday home.

Officers spoke with the 55-year-old on Thursday and fined him after they were alerted to the fact he had relocated to the Pearl Beach holiday home “in contravention of current Ministerial Direction under the Public Health Act,” NSW Police said in a statement.

Mr Fuller said no individual or corporation is above the COVID-19 laws.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had defied calls to sack the MP and said she would wait for police to first establish the facts.

She told Mr Harwin on Thursday to return to his Sydney apartment – acknowledging the “perception is horrible”.

Ms Berejiklian is adamant Mr Harwin didn’t break the rules because he relocated on March 13 before state COVID-19 regulations came into effect on March 17.

Not wanting to “cause a distraction”, Mr Harwin confirmed he had arrived back in Sydney in a statement on Thursday.

He apologised to the premier and the NSW community but insisted he had sought official advice to adhere to the public health order.

NSW Labor is calling on Mr Harwin to resign or, failing that, for the premier to step in and relieve him of his ministerial duties.

Minister Harwin and the premier have been contacted for comment.