Checkpoints on Victoria’s border with New South Wales must be removed following today’s announcement that reclassifies all of NSW as either ‘green’ or ‘orange’ zones.
Border communities are at their wits end. Despite no COVID cases in NSW border communities, Labor’s unwieldy permit system is leaving local people still facing debilitating delays to get across the river for work, school and daily essentials, while business owners are on the edge of financial ruin.
Shocking new analysis shows Murray River tourism operators lost three-quarters of turnover after Daniel Andrews closed the NSW border, according to the Murray River Tourism survey.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh said businesses were fearful they would not survive unless checkpoints are lifted.
“In January alone, some regions reported a $1 million fall in accommodation turnover and 100 per cent of bookings being cancelled,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s not only visitors. Some businesses are struggling to get tradespeople and repair crews to cross the river because they do not want to face the inevitable delays in getting back to Victoria.
“This is a tragedy that just keeps unfolding. The ongoing uncertainty is only making matters worse.
“Many of these people have put their working lives into building up their business and now they are seeing it smashed without a second thought by a Labor Government that has no understanding of how our river towns work.”
The Murray River Tourism survey of more than 400 river town businesses also reported 70 per cent of all reservations had been cancelled and that staffing numbers have halved.
This week, Mr Walsh convened a meeting with NSW Deputy Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary Steph Cooke and Murray River tourism operators to discuss the impact of the closure.
“With no COVID cases across the river for a month, Daniel Andrews is putting politics before people with unworkable and unnecessary border controls,” Mr Walsh said.
“From Mildura to Wodonga – tourism is one of the biggest employers and financial contributors in our river communities, but their future is being sacrificed for the sake of Daniel Andrews’ pig-headed arrogance.
“The border chaos must end and the NSW border must be reopened to put our local businesses and regional economies on track for survival.”