The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, wants the border bubble shelved.
Mr Walsh said residents of the communities along the NSW border want to see all the cross-border restrictions removed.
They want, he said, to return to being one community again and not live in fear that draconian rules from the Victorian Premier will cause more chaos for their families.
“These communities have suffered 18 months of constantly changing rules, different types of permits, you need a permit this week; but it changes for next week, students can cross the border for school one week and then they’re locked out the next,” Mr Walsh explained.
“Whole Local Government Areas are excluded from the cross-border bubble for no logical reason, creating havoc for families who, for example, operate farms across more than one LGA,” he said.
“Just as businesses have staff available one week; but then a rule change excludes them from crossing the border for work the next.
“Even worse, the police who are tasked with enforcing these constantly-shifting scenarios struggle to keep up with the endless changes, the government websites struggle to keep up to date with the rules changing constantly; and often have conflicting or confusing messaging.
“We are up to the 32nd or 33rd set of cross-border rules since the pandemic started – even we have lost count.”
Mr Walsh said these communities have some of the highest vaccination rates in the State – but that’s not getting them anywhere.
He said the Victorian Government has finally followed NSW and is using targeted lockdowns by LGA; and not whole-of-state lockdowns for areas with high COVID case numbers; so the reasons for cross-border restrictions have diminished.
“Enough is enough; give these border communities their lives back, they have suffered too much.
“They are one community, we are supposed to be one country. Why keep dividing people and forcing them to live in fear?”
Mr Walsh took his demand for scrapping the border bubble to the floor of Parliament this week, raising it in his Member’s Statement.
“My office has been inundated with calls from people who don’t know, from one day to the next, if they are coming or going, in business or have the ‘closed’ sign in their front window,” he said.
“I am even seeing businesses close for good because they cannot reliably get staff. This has got to stop now.”