Australia

SA Premier defends locking cross-border communities out, as MPs mount pressure to reverse rules

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has admitted border restrictions in place today and imposed by his Government are ‘impractical’, as cross-border MPs mount pressure to reverse the rules.

Key points:

  • Eight state and federal MPs representing cross-border communities have signed a letter to police
  • They’re calling on SA and Victoria’s police commissioners to work together
  • New rules introduced at midnight have left many cross-border community members locked out of SA

SA and Victorian members of Parliament made an 11th-hour plea for both of their jurisdictions to work together and better manage cross-border communities by writing a letter to both state’s police commissioners.

Tougher border restrictions between the two states came into effect at midnight, leaving many people locked out of SA.

Cross-border members can now only travel between the two states if they are students completing Year 11 or 12, transporting the permitted students or undertaking agricultural work at a cross-border property.

A man wearing a suit

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has defended his Government’s tough border restrictions.(ABC News)

United voices oppose restrictions

In a letter, a number of state and federal Members of Parliament put the case forward for a collaborative approach to managing border communities, saying it would deliver better outcomes for communities by protecting their health, education and economy.

The co-signers included federal representatives the Member for Barker, Tony Pasin and the Member for Mallee, Anne Webster.

South Australian representatives who signed the letter were the Member for Mackillop, Nick McBride, the Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick and the Member for Mount Gambier, Troy Bell.

Victorian MP signatures included the Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, the Member for South West Coast, Roma Britnell and the Member for Mildura, Ali Cupper.

‘I feel the community’s pain’

Speaking on ABC radio this morning, Premier Steven Marshall said he wanted border communities to know he ‘feels their pain’.

“This is a devastating situation that we are confronting as a nation,” he said.

“We’re very concerned about the infections in Victoria. They have dropped, which is absolutely fantastic, but there’s still more than 5,000 infections there.

“These temporary measures, and I emphasise temporary measures, are absolutely necessary at the moment, but the second we can put that buffer back into place we will do it.”

Mr Marshall also responded to claims from Federal Minister David Littleproud, that his measures were city-centric and impractical.

“We have seen seeding in regional Victoria, that’s a fact.”

Restrictions were working ‘perfectly well’

Mr Pasin said cross-border communities had not been considered in the restrictions and the Prime Minister had written to SA Premier Steven Marshall about the tougher rules.

Tony Pasin leans against a ute tray filled with hay in a field with cows in the background.

The Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin is calling on the SA Government to employ a common sense approach when dealing with cross-border communities.(Supplied: Tony Pasin)

“My problem is that things were operating perfectly well before these stricter rules were put in place,” Mr Pasin said.

“The disease rate in regional Victoria is very low and non-existent in cross-border regions.

Premiers need to come to the table

Meanwhile, Victorian Nationals MP Emma Kealy said communication between the two states needed to be coordinated better. 

“We’ve found it really difficult to get the Victorian Premier to sit down with the South Australian Premier, which is really what needs to happen,” she said. 

“We are trying to appeal to a bit of common sense. 

“Let’s dig down and work out together — hopefully in National Cabinet today — how we can operate as a country as opposed to these separate states because it’s just not working locally.”

South Australia’s transition committee is meeting today and again on Tuesday to discuss current measures that are in place.

Lohit Soundarajan

Founder , Editor Tech Guy #Voxguy

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