Thursday, September 24, 2020

Permits needed to cross NSW-Victoria border after closure

PERMITS to cross from Victoria into New South Wales during the border closure will be available to "anyone who feels they will be impacted too much" in border communities, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.

The border will shut from Tuesday night, taking effect at 11.59pm.

As Victoria continues to add cases of the coronavirus, the decision was said to have followed discussions between premiers Daniel Andrews and Ms Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Ms Berejiklian said Service NSW would implement the permit system to allow for travel between border communities.

The permits would be available online, but delays were expected initially as the closure is rolled out.

The Service NSW website was not yet displaying information about the permits.

"Anyone who feels they will be impacted too much by this border closure ... they are able to go to Service NSW, get a permit, and with that one bit of paper they will have access during the closure," Ms Berejiklian.

It was also warned that the first 72 hours of the closure would likely mean delays for travel at border crossings.

Ms Berejiklian urged people to be patient in coming days.

Other emergency services and Australian Defence Force personnel were likely to assist police in monitoring border crossings.

Ms Berejiklian said in a press conference regional Victoria was not immune from the community spread of the coronavirus in Melbourne.

The closure will be enforced on the NSW side, allowing for Victorian resources to be directed towards the outbreak.

Victoria recorded 127 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

There are 55 border crossings affected by the closure, including 33 bridges and two waterway crossings.

No timeframe was put on the closure, although Ms Berejiklian said any decisions would be based on health advice.

Dareton police Inspector Darren Brand has encouraged Victorians visiting NSW to pack their bags and head back home to avoid any inconvenience after Tuesday night's border closures.

Member for Mildura Ali Cupper said it was imperative the state governments ensured "unrestricted access" for Sunraysia communities on both sides of the border between New South Wales and Victoria as soon as possible.

She later called on the Victorian Government to introduce a ban on travel by Melbourne residents into regional areas.

As many as 10,000 commuters in Sunraysia could be impacted each day by the New South Government's decision to close its border with Victoria.

Member for Murray Helen Dalton said the border closure will be difficult for border communities, but the government was erring on the side of caution.

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh said the closure of the Victoria-NSW border was a "bitter blow to the people in Mildura".

The news also came as a blow to Sunraysia's tourism industry. Mildura Paddle Steamers were still in the dark about what it meant for them.

SFNL executive officer Peter Walker said the league would wait and see how the permit system would affect plans to run junior football and netball matches, particularly with regard to Wentworth, which plays home games at George Gordon Oval in Dareton.

Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to resign due to his "abysmal" handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Police and health officials were already stopping anyone arriving into NSW from Melbourne.

Drones and aerial surveillance were to be used to stop people swimming across rivers or trekking through bushland.