MEDIA RELEASE

4 November 2020

 

Tim Quilty welcomes prospect of reopening of NSW border on November 23

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has welcomed the announcement that the NSW border closure will end on November 23, hopefully bringing to a close a costly period in Victorian-NSW history.

Mr Quilty said the announcement by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian of free movement into NSW will come as a great relief to border residents and businesses, as well as Victorian businesses who have struggled by being outside the border bubble.

“This is the best news to come out of NSW for a very long time and I am relieved that common sense has - finally - prevailed in Macquarie Street,” Mr Quilty said.

“The border should never have been closed, and having closed it, they should have already reopened it, but let’s celebrate what we can get.

“This closure has caused enormous losses to services and businesses which depend on freedom of movement of staff and goods.

“It has also highlighted how governments are plucking ideas out of thin air because the closure has been subject to countless tweaks, modifications and goodness knows what else.

“Businesses which found themselves outside the border bubble – which was evidently drawn up by the work experience kid who had failed geography – were unable to attract customers from larger communities like Albury-Wodonga or Echuca-Moama who were not allowed to leave the bubble.”

Services and businesses endured a rollercoaster of problems and solutions as the NSW Government introduced restrictions, realised they had broken essential services such as health, then modified maps and regulations to make amends.

“There have been literally thousands of instances where this border closure prevented staff getting to hospitals, forced farmers to pack sheep onto a plane to Sydney or drove businesses to the brink of collapse through cutting off customers,” Mr Quilty said.

“The whole concept of closing a state’s borders is utterly wrong and is a massive step backward, reminding us of the Cold War or World War II.

“The act of showing paperwork to a police officer or a member of the military and hoping that you have everything in order can be a source of anxiety and stress.

“And I feel so sorry for the truck drivers and border commuters who have had to go through the painful process of queuing and showing paperwork time and time again.”

Ms Berejiklian has said the border will reopen even if outbreaks occur in Victoria, but Mr Quilty remains unconvinced.

“I am taking this claim with a large pinch of salt as Ms Berejiklian has demonstrated a willingness to throw border residents under the bus,” Mr Quilty said.

“I am certain that, if any COVID outbreaks were to gather momentum south of the Murray, we will see the gates slammed shut on us once again.

“I have learned never to trust politicians.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819