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STATEMENT REGARDING THE CONTINUED MISMANAGEMENT OF THE NEW SOUTH WALES AND VICTORIA BORDER

July 22, 2020

JOHN BERGER

TWU VIC/TAS BRANCH SECRETARY

STATEMENT REGARDING THE CONTINUED MISMANAGEMENT OF THE NEW SOUTH WALES AND VICTORIA BORDER

Last night saw the introduction of a sweep of rule changes across the New South Wales and Victorian border. As of midnight last night, all essential transport workers had their permits cancelled and must re-apply to be issued with a new border crossing permit. 

This mass cancellation of permits came about after a spike in COVID cases which is suspected to be linked to a freight operator – not a truck driver – who crossed the border prior to the permit scheme coming into place. 

Along with the mass cancellation of permits, transport workers moving essential freight across the border will be made to isolate when they are not performing their role. 

On July 9, the Transport Workers Union Victoria & Tasmania Branch raised concerns about the mismanagement of the New South Wales and Victoria border after essential transport workers were issued with 14-day isolation notices with their initial permits. 

Today’s change marks three alternations to the border permits in a matter of weeks.

We implore the New South Wales Government to provide transport workers and their union – the Transport Workers Union – with a clear, proactive plan for the New South Wales and Victorian border.

“Truck drivers are providing an essential critical service during this pandemic. They are delivering food, fuel and medicines. They are keeping the economy and businesses open by distributing goods across Australia.” John Berger – the TWU VIC/TAS Branch Secretary said.

“Drivers are trying to do their jobs and are taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus. Throughout our union, drivers have crossed closed borders for several months now as part of the essential service they provide. Their work in doing this has been recognised and applauded.” Berger added.

“The changes to the permit system will present challenges over the coming days. We hope the New South Wales Government will act proactively to complaints in order to ensure a clear passage of freight between the two states,” Berger says

“I urge the New South Wales Government to work proactively, as opposed to reactionary when looking at solutions to what is happening on the New South Wales border,” Berger added. 

Media contact:

Nellie Metcalfe

0475 055 414