NSW Agriculture Minister accepts farmer rage on permits

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall acknowledges farmer pain with latest border closure rule changes

Coronavirus
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall

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Agriculture minister bombarded with issues stemming from permit changes

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NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall says he can understand why farmers are "flummoxed and frustrated" by the latest border closure restrictions made by his own government.

Victorian border farmers have been hit by changes which force them to travel via Sydney to gain access to their NSW properties.

"As someone from the opposite end of the state, bordering with Queensland, I have a first-hand appreciation of the hurt such measures inflict on farmers and agricultural businesses," Mr Marshall said.

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"Protecting NSW residents from the COVID-19 pandemic is obviously paramount, but it's hard to reconcile how the health risks posed by various activities are determined.

"I mean, every pub and club in Sydney's COVID-19 cluster areas are open, trading and welcoming in patrons.

"But a Victorian-based shearer cannot cross the border to perform their critical work on a farm in a place like Jerilderie."

Mr Marshall said his office had been inundated with letters, emails and phone calls from agricultural businesses owners who have had "their lives turned upside down of late".

The changes were made as part of the most recent amendment to the NSW Public Health Order a week ago.

The Victorian Farmers Federation has condemned the latest permit rules.

"In my view, it's crucial that the agriculture and food supply chain industries experience as little disruption as possible during this difficult time and I'll keep doing everything I can to work towards a solution to ensure primary producers have the continuity and clarity they need and can get on with the job they do best," Mr Marshall said.

Victoria's Agriculture Shadow Minister Peter Walsh said farmers and harvest contractors in his state fear strict border closures will cripple the nation's harvest this year, unless special agriculture permits are offered to streamline interstate travel.

"Victorian border communities are riding a rollercoaster of tightening restrictions that are making it impossible to access farms, education, hospitals and essential products and services," he said.

"The uncertainty has pushed tensions high and left families and businesses along the border at their wits' end trying to keep up."

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The story NSW Agriculture Minister accepts farmer rage on permits first appeared on The Border Mail.

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