Border closures 'devastating' regional communities

Border closures 'devastating' regional communities: David Littleproud

Politics
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Concerns have been raised about the cost of groceries, animal welfare and critical health for regional Australians.

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THE federal government pressuring the states to be more flexible with their border closures for regional communities, who are bearing the brunt of their impacts.

Concerns have been raised about the cost of groceries, animal welfare and critical health for regional Australians.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the state governments had to address serious cross-border issues that were having a "devastating impact" on regional families.

"The arbitrary closure of state borders have had serious unintended consequences not only on agricultural supply chains but also regional Australians wellbeing," Minister Littleproud said.

The border closures have stopped the flow of silage contractors, grain harvesters, veterinarians and agronomists between states.

"In one case, a Victorian pastoralist is unable to get to Broken Hill to feed and water her 500 cattle," Mr Littleproud said.

"In Corowa, a number of Victorian-based management and staff of a 5000 head dairy are prevented from crossing the border, putting at risk the health and welfare of animals."

There are numerous human health impacts for residents who rely on GPs, specialists and allied health care across state borders.

"Cancer patients in Tenterfield are unable to access treatment in Queensland, and a heavily pregnant woman in Moree has also been declined a permit to visit Toowoomba to visit her obstetrician," Mr Littleproud said.

There are also concerns the closures will interrupt supply chains, which would impact shoppers across the nation.

"Keeping all of our agricultural supply chains secure is absolutely critical to ensuring supermarket prices for fresh products remains affordable for Australians while maintaining some of the best animal welfare standards in the world," Mr Littleproud said.

If states were determined to push ahead with border closures, Mr Littleproud called for the "practical application" of the policy.

"State health officials need to engage specifically with regional communities and industries at the direction of the premiers to identify workable solutions," he said.

"Our farmers must be able to continue their important work and regional economies that pose little to no COVID-19 risk must be allowed to continue operating. They deserve our full and unwavering support."

The story Border closures 'devastating' regional communities first appeared on Farm Online.

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