Dominic Perrottet has pledged to keep New South Wales “open and free” once lockdown restrictions ease, insisting it is not the role of the government to provide residents with freedoms.

In his first interview since ascending to the helm of the state government, Mr Perrottet told Sky News Australia he believes the health system is strong enough to cope in a rise in case numbers.

“Well naturally when you open up, case numbers will increase,” he said.

“Low case numbers are not the only point of success here, the vaccination rate has been incredibly successful, but the reality is, we’ve got to learn to live alongside the virus, it’s not going away.

“I want to premier of a state that is open and free, it’s not the role of the government to provide those freedoms, it’s in our innate nature as people born in our free country and we need to open up as safely as possible.

“We’ve invested in the health system, case numbers will go up but I’m incredibly confident that our health system is strong and ultimately we can’t just, every time the cases increase over time, close our state down, we need to be open we need to be free.”

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