Logic and reason missing in State border closures
Since March, my team and I have been battling with the fall out of State border closures. First, it was South Australia, then Queensland, and then the NSW Government’s decision to shut our border with Victoria.
With every border closure, and rule change about who can travel where and when there is a fall out. This fall out is affecting our economy – that’s well reported – but what’s not so well reported are the impacts individuals. Not a day has gone by since the first closures that my office hasn’t been contacted by people who have serious medical issues that require care interstate – people who need care urgently – who have been told they cannot cross, or have been sent into a maze bureaucracy.
Some people have been able to access care in NSW, but it has meant drives across NSW – a dash from Broken Hill to Orange for critical care. And, the final frustrating slap for people has been having their IPTAAS claim rejected.
I have written to the NSW Health Minister imploring him to provide a COVID-19 increase in IPTAAS for those whose medical care has been impacted by the border closures, and are seeking urgent care in NSW.
These border closures are having a huge impact on the health and well being of people right across Barwon, our reliance on interstate care has become increasingly more and more obvious. While it is important to note that the NSW Government did not make the decision to shut the Queensland or South Australian border, they must use this experience to review our total reliance on other States for vital services.
We keep hearing the message that we are all in this together, but the border closure decisions defy this logic.
Crossing for Agricultural production
The hard border closure between NSW and Queensland is stopping the movement of contractors between the two States. This is extremely concerning as we move into the winter harvest.
This season is shaping up to be one of the best we've had for years, it defies logic that the States would put more roadblocks in the way of pulling this off after a long drought.
Councils, and Members of Parliament with the Queensland border forming the edge of their electorate are in regular contact and we're working together on this issue with the Cross Border Commissioner. The NSW Agriculture Minister is involved in these conversations and has appealed to the Queensland Premier.