Wodonga-based Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie says the call by NSW Nationals Leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro for the border permit system to be dismantled is right.
The Nationals are putting rural and regional communities first.
“Like Barra today, The Nationals have been very vocal in our calls for a practical approach to allow the agricultural sector to get on with work. It is not just agriculture; this has really impacted on essential health workers, educators, students, mental health support counsellors, case workers and tradies et cetera,” the Nationals Senate Leader said.
“Protecting the health of the Australian community is the number one priority but farms are at a standstill and businesses are being forced to shut without any medical evidence to support state border closures.
“Ridiculous cross-border movement requirements in COVID-19 free regional Australia are dumbfounding. For more than six weeks now people in COVID-19 free regions have been refused access to vital services and work because of their postcode and a clear failure of the Victorian Government to properly lockdown the initial Melbourne outbreak.
“I welcome the Deputy Premier’s commitment to deliver for regional people and look forward to other State Premiers taking action at National Cabinet tomorrow that shows we are all in this together, including regional Australians.”
“Border regional communities need to function without these onerous permit requirements, it is time to start lifting restrictions in these COVID-19 free communities.”
Senator McKenzie was heartened to see a focus on regional impacts and that city-centric decision makers and city-centric State premiers of all political colours were longer ignorant of the realities of life in rural and regional Australia.
“My National Party colleagues have been sounding the alarm not just along the Murray River, but in Queensland, in northern NSW, in the Mallee and western Victoria along the South Australian border,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Nationals understand the urgency, we live here, we are feeling people’s frustration, fatigue and mental stress, our communities are on the brink, we have days to get this fixed.
“The time for talk is past, we know the Deputy Premier will make it very clear to the NSW Government that we need real solutions now.”