Southern NSW border controls off to difficult start


Police will run system on the ground as Service NSW website struggles

Southern NSW border controls off to difficult start
Police are in charge of NSW-Victoria border crossings

 

Caught between a hurried New South Wales border closure and an increasingly worried road transport industry, Transport for NSW is attempting to ease the friction.

Pandemic travel controls on the NSW southern border appear little different to those a century ago, for the present, with police the sole arbiters of transits.

Police are being supported by the military and those found breaching the latest NSW public health order face an $11,000 fine and six months in prison.

The NSW government is grappling with the Service NSW website system that is supposed to furnish entry permits for the general public and truck drivers alike, but appears to be overwhelmed at times.

"Transport for NSW is working closely across government to ensure freight industry operators are able to keep the supply chain flowing through the temporary NSW / Victoria border closure," the department says in a statement to the freight industry.

"If you experience delays in securing a permit you can still demonstrate your eligibility to cross the border to Police by carrying relevant documentation.

"Please be assured, however, that freight is recognised as a critical service.

"Transport for NSW is continuing to work closely with NSW Police and NSW Health to streamline movements for freight over the border and will keep you across any developments.

Road users are encouraged to plan ahead as detours will be in place and delays are expected due to road closures. You can keep up to date at www.livetraffic.com/."


Read about the industry’s thirst for clarity on the border closure, here


The NSW government says that NSW Police will exercise discretion at the border over the next 48 hours while the problem is addressed and parties adapt to the new border arrangements, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) advises.

But there is expectation that the situation may not settle down for 72 hours.

"The permit application system is experiencing high levels of demand," the Service NSW website states.

"You may experience delays in securing a permit.

"You can still demonstrate your eligibility to cross the border to Police by carrying relevant documentation based on your exemption category. "

As with South Australia, once the system becomes operational, truck drivers must apply for an entry permit and carry it with them.

They will be valid for 14 days at a time.

Critical services workers who require a permit to enter NSW include those involved in:

  • freight and logistics
  • the maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure
  • medical or hospital care
  • mining, agriculture, construction, energy or manufacturing.

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) notes that  there are 55 crossing points, with  local governments are closing many.

Six sites have been identified as priority crossings which will remain open:

  • Wodonga Place, South Albury
  • Hume Hwy, South Albury
  • Cobb Hwy, Moama
  • Newell Hwy, Tocumwal
  • Sturt Hwy, Buronga
  • Princes Hwy, Tambillica.

Travel permit applications can be found here.

 

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