Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster has questioned the purpose of tightened border restrictions for Victorian – New South Wales border bubble residents.
“Border residents have been collateral damage for State Premiers in their efforts to outdo each other in locking down their communities to control the virus.”
“We now see the Victorian government applying tightened rules for NSW border residents to cross into Victoria within the existing bubble. These people are not Sydney siders, they are our border colleagues, teammates, educators, and medical professionals. They are a part of our intertwined communities.”
“The 6 reasons to cross the border are now only slightly more lenient than a hard lockdown. There is no logical reason for this when the data clearly shows there are no cases in the southern border region of NSW.
“NSW residents can cross the river to work in an office with their Victorian colleagues all day, but are not allowed to go out for lunch with them. Where is the logic of this additional restriction?
“This decision is unreasonably impinging on the rights of border residents, has no supporting evidence in the case data available, and will have a negative effect on border business that are still struggling to recover from previous lockdowns.
The border region with South Australia is likewise being treated with indifference. Locals in Murrayville who travel into South Australia beyond the bubble are required by the Victorian government to have a Victorian COVID test, and because tests done in Murrayville go to Pinaroo for processing, they are unacceptable. Consequently, border residents must travel outside of the border bubble and travel to Ouyen or Mildura for their test, thereby breaching their border bubble restrictions and barring them from access to South Australia.
In other words, people in Murrayville can’t get a test without losing access to South Australia, which is the reason they need the test in the first place. This situation would be comical if its impacts were not so serious. It speaks to the lack of understanding that Spring St bureaucrats have of our region, and their lack of empathy for the circumstances many people are facing. The Victorian Health Department need to fix this now.
The Victorian state government must do better by our border regions. They must acknowledge the unique circumstances that exist in our interwoven communities.