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Victorian border with NSW to close tomorrow

By Andrew Johnston

UPDATE:

More details of the impact of the closure on border towns is still being discussed.

A Victorian Government spokesperson said details were still being worked through.

"Premier Andrews, the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales have agreed to close the border between Victoria and New South Wales from tomorrow night," they said.

"We know this is inconvenient, but it is being done out of an abundance of caution to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Enforcement will be a matter for New South Wales police, but the NSW Government has confirmed Victorians can apply online for exemptions to move between the two states.

"More specific details of how the closure will operate for border communities, as well as industries who need to cross the border, is being worked through."

EARLIER:

Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said the COVID-19 situation in Victoria has reached a critical point; with the state now virtually isolated from the rest of the country.

He said the NSW decision to close its borders with Victoria would have a massive impact on families and businesses in Victorian border communities, like Echuca-Moama.

“This closure is a dramatic and unprecedented move, but Daniel Andrews can’t tell us anything about what it means for us, despite being in the meeting with the Prime Minister and NSW Premier,” Mr Walsh said.

“The initial news from the NSW government is that all casual and social traffic between Echuca and Moama will end at midnight tomorrow.

“Our communities and local economies have already been smashed by Victoria’s COVID-19 shutdowns. We are all prepared to do our bit to flatten the curve and save lives but for us to be dragged into Melbourne’s mess is a bitter blow to people in Echuca and Moama.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed this morning that Victorians will be required to apply for a special exemption permit via Service NSW, but that the eligibility criteria has not yet been determined.

NSW Police have confirmed aerial surveillance of the border and that road crossing points will be manned to enforce the border closure.

Ms Berejiklian also indicated there will be significant disruptions to border travel over the next 72 hours as the details are worked out.

“Our communities in northern Victoria shouldn’t be forced to suffer because the Andrews Labor Government has lost control of its virus management in Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.

“NSW have said there will be strict criteria to enter NSW but I will seek further detail over the next 24 hours to fill in the blanks.”

The Victorian Government has been contacted for response.

EARLIER:

ALL residents of Echuca-Moama will be eligible to apply for an exemption to the NSW border closure.

The NSW Government this morning announced exemptions could be applied for online through Service NSW, with each case to be examined.

It remains unclear if the Echuca-Moama bridge will be a check point for people entering NSW.

While the border will not officially close until midnight tomorrow, the NSW Government has advised against any cross border travel until the lockdown comes into effect.

EARLIER:

Victoria will close its border with NSW at midnight tomorrow.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement this morning in response to growing concerns about Victoria's coronavirus case numbers which have grown by 127 today.

A permit system will be in place for those living in border communities.

NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian is expected to announce more details later this morning but the closure will be enforced on the NSW side of the river.

Mr Andrews made the announcement following a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Ms Berijiklian.

MORE TO COME