Cross border communities given more freedom as rules relaxed

Cross border communities given more freedom as rules relaxed

Coronavirus
Members of the cross border community have welcomed the rules being relaxed for travel within the border bubble but also want the state government to make it easier for them to travel further into SA.

Members of the cross border community have welcomed the rules being relaxed for travel within the border bubble but also want the state government to make it easier for them to travel further into SA.

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Cross border communities along the SA-Vic border have gained another small freedom, now able to move more freely in the 70 kilometre 'border bubble' zone.

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Cross border communities along the SA-Vic border have gained another small freedom, now able to move freely in the 70 kilometre 'border bubble' zone.

Previously these CBC members needed a specific purpose to enter the state- work, education, shopping or seeking medical attention - but on Tuesday SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens announced residents could travel 70km either side of the border without a reason.

RELATED:SA-Vic border bubble extended

But despite Vic Premier Dan Andrews stating a wider border re-opening was not far off the SA state government says it is not imminent.

"We constantly monitor the situation between the Vic and SA border, however, given we are unable to control any travel between Melbourne and regional Vic, it is not easy to simply open up to one and not the other," a SA government spokesperson said.

"The health and safety of South Australians is our top priority. Border controls, national and State, are fundamental to plans to keep South Australia safe and strong."

From midnight Friday, SA residents who have been stuck in Vic under the hard border controls will be able to return home as long as they go into 14 days quarantine.

Member for MacKillop Nick McBride said the changes would allow the community to return to a "more normal way of living".

"It will be a significant boost and will help the wellbeing of the many people that have had their lives significantly impacted by the cross-border restrictions," he said.

"It will also provide opportunities for local businesses who will welcome the return of these people to their shops, cafes and business."

Cross Border Call Out Facebook Page spokesperson Paula Gust, whose property is on the SA-Vic border near Apsley, says it is a step forward.

"It will make a difference to a lot of people, particularly those people stranded in Vic or those hoping to relocate to SA, and it will get families back together," she said.

"It is a step forward in SA people welcoming Victorian border residents back as members of the community rather than just visitors."

However at the same time as the announcement has given CBC members hope, Ms Gust says it is a "swing of the bat" that SA is allowing New Zealanders to enter the state without quarantining.

"We are SA's next door neighbours and have been having weekly COVID-19 tests for three months, they are whole other country," she said.

Ms Gust says another "bone of contention" continues to be the difficulty for CBC members to travel further into SA when needed. She is calling on this to be made easier.

"If we need to see a specialist in Adelaide we still have to go through the application process and even if we are approved we have to wear a mask and undergo the required isolation and feel like we are second class citizens," she said.

Mr McBride said he was keen to see a further "safe" relaxation of restrictions - including a longer interval between mandatory COVID-19 testing, and an expansion of the area in which people can travel between SA and Vic.

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