NSW’s Minister for the Arts Don Harwin has resigned after suspicion arose about him travelling during COVID-19 restrictions.
In a statement Mr Harwin defended his actions, but said he is aware “perception is important”.
“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,” said Mr Harwin in a statement.
“At all times I have sought to act in accordance with public health orders and I sought advice that my living arrangements complied with those orders.
“I remain confident that I have acted in accordance with those orders.”
Police issued Mr Harwin a Penalty Infringement Notice for $1000 after officers attended his Elizabeth Bay home, where he had returned yesterday.
In his statement Mr Harwin said he did not want to become a distraction for the government.
“I know however that perception is just as important during these times,” Mr Harwin said.
“The Premier and her team are doing an outstanding job during the biggest crisis our state and nation have faced during our lifetimes.
“It is absolutely vital they should be able to focus entirely on the health and economic issues facing our community.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that Mr Harwin had resigned from cabinet and said the rules around social distancing apply to everybody.
“Late last night I was advised Minister Don Harwin had been fined $1000 for breaching a public health order,” Ms Berekilian said in a statement.
“The Police, who have been tasked by my Government with enforcing these health orders, came to the conclusion that Minister Harwin breached the order.
“Whilst Minister Harwin has served the people of NSW well, and he continues to assure me that he did not break the rules, the orders in place apply equally to everybody.”