Common sense approach needed for border communities

Common sense approach needed for border communities Main Image

02 September 2020

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain is calling on the NSW Government to make further changes to its border permit scheme to ensure a fair go for regional communities.

“This week’s announcement of a 50 kilometre ‘Border Bubble’ is welcome but needs to go further,” Ms McBain says.

“Rather than a hard line on a map, the ‘Border Bubble’ and the supporting permit scheme need to be better designed around the needs of our border communities.

“I have been in contact with Darren Chester, Federal Member for Gippsland, whose electorate borders Eden Monaro in Victoria regarding these anomalies and we will be working together to find a common-sense solution for our constituents.

“Workers like Warren Sunderland from Bermagui are facing the very real prospect of losing their jobs.

“Warren is a merchant seaman who has been in the Bass Strait for the past four weeks working on a drill platform. Warren goes to work so that gas can be delivered to Victoria and New South Wales.

“Yet upon his return to Sydney, despite having all the required paperwork, Warren is being forced into two weeks of quarantine, five hours north from his wife and five children.

“That was the case for all four employees on the ship who come from New South Wales – but not the case for the other eight employees. Warren’s workmates from the ACT, Victoria and Queensland were able to go between work and home freely.

“Even worse for Warren, he is a casual worker, and is now worried he’ll lose his job.

“When the national cabinet meets this week critical workers like Warren need to on the agenda, they are crying out for a common-sense approach. Their jobs depend on it.

“I believe this can be achieved while ensuring the health and safety of border communities.

“Border communities have had a horrendous year with bushfires and coronavirus – struggles that have been compounded by these border closures,” Ms McBain says.

The Member for Eden Monaro also raised Mr Sunderland’s case on the floor of parliament today, the video can be viewed HERE.