Just in time for the holiday period, an unfortunate outbreak in New South Wales has thrown the Christmas plans of thousands into disarray. We always knew we would encounter more spot fires of the virus, but the timing of this outbreak really could not have been worse.
The people of NSW and their Government have diligently followed an effective process of testing, tracing, and targeted restrictions, exactly what is needed to handle these hotspots. At the time of writing, NSW found only 8 new cases, out of a massive 42,000 tests.
It’s unfortunate that other State Premiers have once again instituted hard border restrictions.
On the 13th of November, the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Governments, except Western Australia, agreed to a Framework for National Reopening that included an agreement on proportionate measures for controlling outbreaks, none of which featured border restrictions.
Since that time, State Premiers have flouted this agreement, firstly against South Australia, and now against New South Wales. We are once more feeling the harsh effects that border closures have on border communities.
This week, NSW residents in Gol Gol, Buronga, and surrounding areas, faced long queues to cross the border, with many people having to wait hours to get through.
Freight drivers have also been caught in the crossfire despite being covered under the National Freight Movement Code, as agreed to by the National Cabinet. This code allows free movement of our truckies across state borders to enable the continuation of this critical service.
I’ve been contacted by several truckies confused about the new rules, with some ending up in hotel quarantine in Melbourne. This isn’t good enough, and means our essential freight routes are at risk of being crippled right before Christmas. This could result in massive supply chain issues, especially for greater Sydney.
I have contacted the Victorian Cross-Border Commissioner, Luke Wilson, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, to seek their assistance to solve these issues, which are the outcome ineffective, hasty, and reactive decision making.
I sympathise with those who have had their Christmas plans disrupted by these border closures, and pray that you can look toward 2021 with hope.