11 August 2021

Bubble permit system is border closure by stealth, says Tim Quilty

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty says the Victorian Government’s introduction of a border bubble permit is in effect a hard border closure.

Mr Quilty said the permits will need to be checked, creating traffic jams in all border communities and therefore indistinguishable from a closure.

“We should be very clear, this is a border closure by stealth,” Mr Quilty said.

“All vehicles, all pedestrians will need to be stopped and checked as they cross the border into Victoria so there will be uniformed police, traffic queues, and all the other junk we got used to seeing during the last border closure.

“It also means, unfortunately, that crossing into Victoria will again be a daily time-consuming chore for anybody who needs to cross for work, education, care, or any of the other reasons graciously permitted by the Victorian Government.

“And we’re not even talking about how often we will need to apply for permits, and whether they will be routinely issued or each one subject to scrutiny and rejection.

“We already have refugee camps of Victorians stranded in NSW unable to obtain permits to cross back – how many people will be unable to obtain border crossing permits going forward?”

Mr Quilty said he would not be surprised to see the end of the bubble concept.

“The more we see Premier Daniel Andrews making announcements and referring to the virus in NSW, the more I can imagine he will decide to just announce the end of the border bubble arrangements,” Mr Quilty said.

“He quite clearly wants to appeal to Melbourne voters who could not care less about communities along the border, and we know Mr Andrews feels the same way.

“This is more COVID Theatre for the Melbourne audience, it’s more decisions being made by the Victorian Government with zero available evidence, and it will add even more burdens for those struggling with the current requirements.

“The Premier must stop talking about the dangers of the virus getting to Albury and start talking about the impacts on mental health of these restrictions, the closure of businesses and the increase in unemployment.

“He is inflicting damage on regional Victorians every day,but has the nerve to describe these permits as ‘inconvenience’.

“It’s more than inconvenient to be unable to cope with the anxieties of these restrictions and it’s more than inconvenient to lose a family breadwinner.”