A Tumut-based paramedic of 25 years is taking court action against the state government in response to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
John Larter, who is also the deputy mayor of Snowy Valleys Council, has previously spoken out against the mandate which requires all healthcare workers to have their first dose of the vaccine by September 30 and be fully vaccinated by November 30 in order to maintain their employment.
Cr Larter says he is "quite disillusioned" by the mandate, especially as a member of the Liberal Party himself.
"I just don't believe that taking that many people off the frontline in a lot of vulnerable areas is a good thing," he said.
The paramedic - who currently has no intention of getting the vaccine - says he receives emails "every day" from colleagues in the sector with the same view as him, and argues that regional and rural areas will suffer if they lose even one healthcare worker to the new rule.
"We're almost at breaking point every day of the week," Cr Larter said.
"When there is an influx of work we essentially can't cope with it. That's not going to improve by taking staff off the front line."
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Cr Larter said it was the "arrogant" approach of NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard that spurred him into the civil action in the Supreme Court, with an aim of revoking the jab mandate from the Public Health Order.
"I think the majority of people, vaccinated or non-vaccinated, agree that we're on a rocky road here [and] that we are entitled to choice; we are entitled to have a say in what is put into our body," he said.
Documents submitted to the state Parliament this week show more than 13,000 NSW Health staff have not yet had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said individuals have the right to make decisions about "what they put in their body and how they manage their wellbeing and their health".
"The reality is is that at some point in time if you haven't been vaccinated, [NSW] Health will have to make a decision if you will continue your employment," he said.
"It shows clearly that most healthcare professionals are leading the charge ... on vaccination," Mr Barilaro said.
The case is due to be mentioned in Sydney today.
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