NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin resigns

The minister responsible for the arts portfolio in New South Wales (NSW), Don Harwin, has resigned from his post this evening.

The resignation comes after the minister grabbed headlines for travelling to his Central Coast holiday home while the rest of the state grappled with COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions, and strict instructions from police and authorities about not travelling unnecessarily to regional areas.

Harwin said he had acted within the state’s public health orders but that “perception is just as important during these times”.

The elected official has since been issued with a $1,000 fine for his actions by NSW Police.

This evening’s statement said there is nothing more important than the work the government is doing in fighting the coronavirus crisis.

“I will not allow my circumstances to be a distraction from that work and I very much regret that my residential arrangements have become an issue during this time,” he said.

“The Premier and her team are doing an outstanding job during the biggest crisis our state and nation have faced during our lifetimes,” he added.

“It is absolutely vital they should be able to focus entirely on the health and economic issues facing our community.”

Harwin (second from left) with actor Chris Hemsworth and federal MP Paul Fletcher

Many in the arts and entertainment sector have been lobbying the government, particularly at a federal level, for more protections and relief package measures for those who work in the sector. The industry relies heavily on casual and self-employed workers, many of whom have fallen through the cracks and are not eligible for government assistance while their projects and livelihoods are on hold.

Harwin was also a Special Minister of State and the Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations and Aboriginal Affairs.


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