Friday, September 25, 2020

SA Premier looks at opening border to western Victoria

SOUTH Australian Premier Steven Marshall has flagged the potential for his state's border to open up to western Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked during a press conference about opening the border to centres such as Mildura, Mr Marshall did not fully commit to the idea but said it was an issue that would be looked at by South Australia's transition committee.

"I think that is definitely the general direction we are heading -- moving away from locking up the entire nation, down to localised hot spot management orientation," Mr Marshall said.

"For example, I know (the transition committee) will be looking very closely at the ACT and New South Wales, they could be looking at other areas of Victoria, for example the western end of Victoria is a possibility -- not at the moment but, again, we keep looking at that data."

On Tuesday, 64 new infections were reported in Victoria, after 75 on Monday and 90 over the weekend thanks to a rise in virus numbers in metropolitan Melbourne.

Member for Mildura Ali Cupper is lobbying the South Australian Government and Victoria's Cross Border Commissioner for a regional "travel bubble" to allow residents from the Mildura municipality access to South Australia.

South Australia this week abandoned its plans to reopen its borders to Victoria on July 20.

The longer border closure has been met with frustration in Sunraysia, where there has not been a confirmed coronavirus case since April.

"I can understand Mr Marshall has a duty to protect his residents, but I believe a travel bubble allowing residents from our region is realistic given the lack of cases here," Ms Cupper said.

"It seems strange that a resident from across the river is able to travel to South Australia without the need to quarantine for 14 days but residents from Cullulleraine, or Mildura, or anywhere else in the Mildura LGA can't.

"Allowing South Australians to travel to our region, without the need to quarantine upon return, would also be a boost to our struggling tourism industry."