NSW councillor takes on vaccine mandate

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A veteran paramedic and deputy mayor has raised more than $35,000 in a day in his bid to overturn NSW’s vaccine mandate for health workers.

Tumut paramedic John Larter is seeking declaratory relief to allow him to continue to work unvaccinated after September 30 as long as he’s wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

“Why are they happy for me to work until the 30th? If it was such a danger, you’d have me taken off the road today, wouldn’t you?” he said this week.

“Why are the GPs exempt?”

The father-of-six, married to a registered nurse, is also the deputy mayor of the Snowy Valleys region in the state’s south.

His case against what he calls “medical apartheid” will be heard for the first time by the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

Some legal fees will be covered by crowdfunding, with Mr Larter’s GoFundMe page collecting $35,000 inside its first 24 hours online this week.

He will likely need every cent – having briefed the eminent Bret Walker SC as well as junior counsel Mark Maconachie.

Mr Larter, who has previously sought Liberal preselection for local seats and claims his stance is leading to workplace bullying, has thanked two state MPs for their “unwavering support”: Berejiklian government backbencher Tanya Davies and One Nation’s Mark Latham.

In a Facebook video with Mr Larter on Thursday, Ms Davies said vaccine mandates were a “serious, critical issue of our community”.

“I just want to applaud you for doing what you are doing leading the charge in this area,” she told the paramedic.

The Berejiklian government is defending three other similar challenges to its vaccine mandates, including a group of nurses, aged care workers and workers inside areas of concern.

One law firm leading one challenge has raised more than $400,000 through crowdfunding.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Thursday thanked the high numbers of healthcare workers who had rolled up their sleeves to be vaccinated.

With Christmas nearing, he urged the community to do the same.

“The best present you can give yourself, your family, your friends and the state is to get vaccinated … go and do it,” he said.

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