Border closure unlikely to affect agriculture

Victorian-NSW virus border closure is unlikely to disrupt agriculture

Coronavirus
COMMON SENSE: Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria president John Beer says he feels common sense will prevail.

COMMON SENSE: Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria president John Beer says he feels common sense will prevail.

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Few fears for agriculture, over COVID-19 border closure.

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Livestock agents and transporters say the impending closure of the border between Victoria and NSW is unlikely to have an adverse effect on their operations.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the border will close, from 11:59pm, on Tuesday.

Read more:

Victoria-New South Wales border to close amid COVID-19 cases continue to soar

Mr Andrews said it was a joint decision between himself, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

"That closure will be enforced on the NSW side, so as not to be a drain on Victorian resources, that are very much focussed, on fighting the virus, across our state," Mr Andrews said.

"There will be a permit system and further detailed arrangements will be announced by the Premier of NSW."

Ms Berejiklian said a "special permit or exemption" would be needed to enter NSW, from Victoria.

Mr Andrews said residents of the border communities would be allowed to travel into NSW for work and essential health services.

"I think it's the smart call, the right call, at this point in time, given the very significant challenge we are facing, in containing this viruus," Mr Andrews said.

A new daily Victorian record has been set for new coronavirus confirmations, with 127 cases confirmed on Monday morning.

Mr Andrews made no mention of whether or not agriculture would remain an essential service.

No major impact

But those associated with the livestock industry said they believed the border closure wouldn't have a major impact.

Although half the stock for the regular sales at Barnawartha were drawn equally from NSW and Victoria, agents said they didn't expect any problems.

A spokeswoman for Regional Livestock Exchanges (RLX), which runs the Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange at Barnawartha, near Wodonga, said the organisation was in the process of reviewing requirements and procedures for those attending sales.

Livestock Exchanges general manager Cye Travers said the organisation was doing its best to navigate through the available information that might impact operations at NVLX facility.

"To our knowledge, essential workers and freight and logistics companies will still be able to cross borders with appropriate permits, however, we are unsure when these permits will be available," Mr Travers said.

RLX would continue to prioritise public health and safety and continue to monitor the most current state and federal government advice on the evolving situation.

It would provide regular updates regarding any further changes to site procedures, should they be required.

Michael Unthank, Brian Unthank Rural, Albury, said he believed agents would be given permits, to cross the border, "to do our everyday jobs.

"It's more the tourist side of things, that is affected," Mr Unthank said.

"I'm not making the rules, but I wouldn't think there would be issues, I hope not, anyway."

David Meehan, Corcoran Parker, Wodonga, said he imagined the border would remain open for essential services.

"If that's the case, it won't make much difference, the buyers are still going to come," Mr Meehan said.

Restrictions had been eased, but had been reintroduced, after the spike in Melbourne.

"The people that need to get in, can get in," Mr Meehan said.

In a perfect world, it would be nice to have vendors seeing their cattle sold and buyers to be there, when stock went under the hammer.

"We are making it work, you just have to."

Rodwells Wodonga branch manager Peter Ruaro said he hadn't been notified as to the status of this week's sales, but was ready to sell 1400 cattle tomorrow.

"We have a special sale on Thursday, and, as far as I am concerned', it's business as usual," Mr Ruaro said.

"We are just continuing on, as normal."

"That's what I have told a few people who have inquired, we are an essential service.

"It didn't stop us last time, when the restrictions were imposed, so I hope it doesn't, this time around."

Common sense

Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria president John Beer said he felt common sense would prevail.

"I think it will be much the same as South Australia," Mr Beer said.

SA closed its borders to Victoria on March 24, only allowing essential services to cross into the state.

Read more:

SA still open for business for rural transporters, says LRTAV

"I would reckon you might have to do a bit of paperwork, as to where you have been and where you are going," Mr Beer said.

"There was a lot of angst going on, to start with."

He stressed drivers should travel alone.

"Don't put passengers in your truck, just go as a solo driver," he said.

"I know, in Queensland, they were looking for passengers, so don't take passengers, no family, or nothing like that, go by yourself and you will be right."

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