Wodonga-based Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie is calling on National Cabinet to deliver a nationally consistent approach to border closures and quarantine processes.
While state leaders are engaged in a political game of one-upmanship regional communities, hundreds of kilometres from COVID-19 hotspots, are being torn apart.
Protecting the health of the Australian community is the number one priority but because of city-centric parochialism our farms are at a standstill and businesses are being forced to shut without the medical evidence to justify state border closures.
We need a national standard approach to inbound quarantine with stringent checks, and equivalent processing systems that will give confidence as we learn to live with the virus.
The reality is in the present system some state governments are simply not up to it, as evidenced in Victoria.
National Cabinet also needs to produce a common-sense national border-closure strategy, to avoid issues such as:
- A three year old Murrayville girl with cancer unable to see Adelaide-based specialist for treatment
- A Queensland mum with cancer and newborn, and her partner stranded in Wodonga
- Victorian kids attending school in NSW unable to sit their HSC exams
- Farmers being told to fly their sheep, hay and header with them to Sydney then quarantine in a hotel before they can access their NSW properties
- A Queensland farmer unable to access their NSW property to feed their cows being told by a bureaucrat to euthanase them.
It is time for leadership at National Cabinet to end nonsensical state-imposed work and travel arrangements.
After months of immense emotional and mental pressure, COVID-19 free regional Australians need a plan.