Benalla COVID-19 Cross-border travel

Sudden border bubble changes ad hoc and unfair

02 September 2021

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has slammed the Andrews Labor Government for cutting Benalla from the border bubble last night, with no forewarning and no explanation.

Other local government areas removed from the border bubble by Victoria late yesterday include Bendigo, Shepparton, Buloke, Loddon and Yarriambiack.

Residents from these shires can no longer obtain a permit to return from NSW.

Ms Ryan said while there may be an argument for suspending Shepparton from the bubble until such time as the COVID situation was in hand, no reason had been given for removing Benalla or the other local government areas suddenly cut overnight.

“Benalla has no COVID cases. It is illogical and unfair that our residents have been excluded from the border bubble overnight,” Ms Ryan said.

“What is the rationale for this decision? It’s this kind of ad hoc decision making, with no warning and no explanation, that shatters people.

“It is just ridiculous that after 18 months, we still don’t have a common bubble and a common set of rules with NSW.

“We are supposed to be one country but the Andrews Government is turning us into a hermit kingdom.”

Ms Ryan said the changes mean that Benalla residents working in NSW will have to do 14 days quarantine if they come home.

“The changes have sparked confusion for people who need to travel to Albury for medical care, including cancer treatment,” Ms Ryan said.

“My office has been fielding calls from people this morning who are concerned about what this sudden change means for residents who need to travel for medical treatment or for work.

“I have been advised by Victoria’s cross border commissioner this morning that no permit will be required for those who need to travel for time critical healthcare, however people should obtain a letter from their doctor.

“People are also able to travel without a permit if they have shared custody arrangements.

“The only people who can return from work in NSW are those the government has deemed to be ‘specified workers’. Those people will need to obtain a specified worker permit which may carry quarantine and testing requirements,” Ms Ryan said.

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