Chief Minister Andrew Barr has clashed with a Sky News journalist and suggested the media was responsible for overhyping expectations ahead of his announcement on the future of Canberra's lockdown, as he comes under increasing pressure to explain the city's path to freedom.
Mr Barr faced intense questioning from reporters on Wednesday over the government's decision to extend the city's lockdown for another four weeks.
The Chief Minister clashed with Sky News host Tom Connell, who asked Mr Barr to confirm if Canberrans were poised to remain locked up for weeks after the territory passed the 70 per cent vaccination threshold.
Mr Connell said projections showed the ACT was on track to have 70 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated by October 8 - three weeks before the nationwide rate was anticipated to hit that mark (according to his figures).
Under the national cabinet's reopening roadmap, states and territories would move to lift restrictions once vaccination rates in both their jurisdiction and across the nation crossed the 70 per cent and 80 per cent thresholds.
"Does that mean you'll continue to have Canberra in lockdown for an extra three weeks after that 70 per cent - even longer if that's required," Mr Connell asked.
Mr Bar responded: "No, next question".
Mr Connell pressed again.
Mr Barr didn't bite.
"We have a lockdown that continues until the 15th of October, and will advise the situation beyond there, Mr Connell," he said.
Mr Connell's attempt at following up his question was abruptly struck down by Mr Barr, who reminded him there was other journalists in the room seeking answers of their own.
"But it's only been 30 seconds Chief Minister," Mr Connell said.
In response, Mr Barr took a swipe at Mr Connell's employer.
"This is the Sky News approach to journalism is it?"
In a statement to The Canberra Times, Sky News' head of news, Chris Willis, hit back at Mr Barr.
"The Sky News way of doing things involves asking elected representatives questions they may not like," he said.
"It's called free speech."
Minutes later, Mr Barr was asked if it he was wrong to bill Tuesday's announcement as a "roadmap" for Canberra's reopening in the days leading to it, given how threadbare it ultimately was on the details about the path forward.
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Mr Barr, who did provide more detail on what the future might hold at Wednesday's press conference, said said the media was responsible for characterising it as a "roadmap".
"We said it was a pathway forward [where] we outline our next steps," he said.
"I know you [the media] have got to get a summary of things."
"But there was almost no reporting yesterday on the detail of what I've just gone through today. Now, fair enough. There's a lot to cover and there's only a small amount of time. But ... I think it is challenging to communicate this level of information and detail this far out from making decisions."
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