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Industry seeks details on Victoria NSW border closure

Melbourne Covid-19 spike spurs Victorian move but freight impact awaited


Border closures isolating Victoria from Wednesday has freight transport interests searching for confirmation that the industry will remain unaffected to any great extent.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announce the closure of the border with New South Wales following discussions with prime minister Scott Morrison.

“Special conditions will be in place for freight operations and other critical services,” the NSW government says. 

NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller says a hard border would be established at appropriate locations to enforce the border closure.

“The NSW Police Force is ready to step up, 400 police officers plus other agencies are preparing to enforce the closure of the NSW and Victorian border,” Fuller adds.

The border with South Australia was closed by that state last week, and though freight is deemed an essential service there and nationally, truck drivers must undertake form-filling to enter that state.

The Transport Workers’ Union Victoria/Tasmania branch and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) are looking for details on what is being proposed.

However, the VTA is confident of freight’s position.

“The VTA has been engaging with governments and the broader freight industry about the decision to close the Victorian border with New South Wales,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson tells ATN.

“As we have experienced with other jurisdictions, the freight transport industry will be excluded from the closure with freight and logistics being an essential service.

“A permit or exemption will be required for all persons entering NSW carrying out essential work.

“These will be achievable online with the exact web address yet to be defined.

“With the Hume Highway being one of the world’s busiest freight corridors, we are grateful the freight industry is able to continue working to keep supply chains and the economy moving.

“The VTA will be advocating to ensure that border crossings processes are the same at every crossing and that freight delays are minimal.

“We will continue to keep our members updated on any new border crossing procedures, and that they take steps to ensure their drivers are not reporting to work if they are unwell, to get tested for Covid-19 if they experience symptoms and understand their responsibility in managing this pandemic.”

The regional TWU branch say it  is “eager to work with both the Victorian and New South Wales Governments to ensure that transport workers are ensured access to New South Wales during the closure of the border between the two states”, branch secretary John Berger says.

“Trucking is an essential service which is vital to ensure that goods continue to be made available to the public and other essential services in this time of crisis.”

Read about measures in place on the South Australian border, here

The TWU branch is seeking clarity on the following issues:

  • clarity that trucks will still be allowed to cross your state’s borders and that truck drivers will be exempt from self-isolation requirements
  • clarity about any measures in place at border crossings to check trucks and truck drivers crossing, whether this includes temperature checks on drivers, etc
  • assurances that truck drivers will be supplied at these border crossing with hand sanitisers, masks, gloves and information
  • clarity on any measures in place for truck drivers when they enter the state to protect themselves and others
  • assurances that truck stops will stay open so that drivers can still access rest areas for food and showers. We are concerned about stops only offering take away services
  • assurances that showers and rest areas at truck stops for truck drivers will be cleaned and disinfected adequately
  • assistance in ensuring that clients pay owner drivers and transport operators on time
  • assurances that owner drivers who are in financial distress are given financial assistance.

“Transport Workers Union VIC/TAS Branch Secretary will be seeking meetings with both the Victorian and New South Wales State Ministers for Transport to discuss the above,” the union says.

More to come


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