THE Echuca-Moama COVID-19 bubble has to be urgently reconstructed before it bursts.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh is co-ordinating business and community demands that checkpoints be moved from the Murray River back as far as the Barmah turnoff.
Mr Walsh said the gridlock trying to move so many people through the checkpoint on Meninya Rd is not just paralysing the twin towns it is causing financial damage to businesses and growing distress amongst schoolchildren and their families.
He said while the roadblocks are vital, and everyone respects that, the first week – particularly with schools now back – has shown they are simply in the wrong place.
“We have kids stuck on school buses for as many as five or more hours a day – that is beyond unacceptable,” Mr Walsh said.
“It is also impacting on student stress levels – little children don’t understand uniformed police coming on board and checking permits and parents are trying to juggle work with the huge demand on their time to compensate for those delays by being there for children coming home to empty houses or having to walk/ride on busy roads.
“Rich River Golf Club marketing and sales manager Paul Lavars has drawn a new map which certainly looks a very viable alternative,” he said.
“Let’s face it, more than 90 per cent of people using the bridge every day live in one of the twin towns and are not going any further into NSW. If the roadblocks were moved back as far as Paul’s map suggests, it would literally be business as normal.
“Even better, if the roadblock moves back it will save the NSW police a lot of work as there won ‘t be anywhere near the number of passes to be checked.”
He said the map has a major checkpoint on the Cobb Hwy just before the Barmah turnoff, with smaller checkpoints – one on Perricoota Rd and Centre Rd near the Moama tip. A couple of smaller roads that could pose a problem have also been identified and could be closed with bollards.