Cross-border community members along the SA-Vic border have welcomed the extension of the 'border bubble', enabling more Vic residents who have been shut out of SA for months to enter the state.
Earlier this week, Premier Steven Marshall announced the buffer zone - previously stretching 40 kilometres either side of the border - was expanding to enable Vic residents living up to 70km from the border to travel up to 70km into SA.
Also coming into effect from midnight tonight (Wednesday), travellers from NSW and the ACT are being allowed to transit through Mildura, Vic, to SA, as long as they can prove they have not had a stopover in Vic. Mr Marshall says this is a "common-sense" decision, providing a more direct route from NSW to SA.
He says there have been many cases at the Yamba border checkpoint where travellers had been turned back but had then been unable to re-enter NSW from Vic.
"Without this decision, what it meant was people would have to travel through Broken Hill, NSW, which adds hours and hours and hours to the trip, so people were on the roads longer and then we create a fatigue issue," he said.
It was a balanced decision that provided the most opportunities for those that needed it most, yet still protecting South Australians from the increased risk of COVID.
He also indicated that the weekly COVID-19 tests border residents were being subjected to could become fortnightly tests as Vic case numbers dropped.
But his preference was for this to be a national decision, and hoped this could be agreed upon within days.
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the decision to extend the buffer zone to 70km came about from a review of cross-border exemption applications, weighing this up with the increased level of risk from incorporating larger regional centres in Vic.
"It was a balanced decision that provided the most opportunities for those that needed it most, yet still protecting South Australians from the increased risk of COVID," he said.
Mr Marshall reiterated that the hard border between SA and Vic would not be in place for a "day longer than needed" but said the first step to removing it would be to consider a 14-day self-isolation for Victorians.
This would not occur until the transition committee saw how the lifting of stage four restrictions in Melbourne went.
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