More than 2,000 Victorians trapped in NSW apply for exemptions from border closures

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Health officials note that 175 applications have so far been processed and priority is given to those with medical needs.

Over 2,000 Victorians trapped in New South Wales have applied for an exemption to return home from the harsh border closure.

The state’s acting premier, Jacinta Allan, said Monday that since the government enforced a hard border closure with NSW on New Year’s Day, about 2,200 applications have been made.

Allan said that at the last count, 175 exceptions had been processed.

People with special medical needs, in specific emergencies and other emergencies, are a priority at the moment,”The priority at the moment is people with special medical needs, particularly emergencies, and other emergencies,”

In the new year, more than 60,000 Victorians returned after the state government declared that after 11:59 p.m. no one would be allowed to cross the border. Jan. 1.—Jan. 1.

The announcement, announced on New Year’s Eve, sparked long queues at the border as Victorians hurried to meet the deadline, while the government had hinted at the possibility of more changes to border rules.

Others were left in limbo while still in NSW.

Eliza, a 24-year-old resident of Melbourne, was camping with her housemates Maison, Byron and James in northern NSW when the border closure was declared.

Eliza, who did not want her surname written, said that from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2, the party had been camping at a property near Grafton, where there was no coverage for mobile phones.

They heard the Victoria-NSW border was already closed when they regained reception.

When we came out and got that news and that we had missed going back, it was particularly shocking,”It was especially shocking when we came out and got that news and that we had missed going back,” “We didn’t even know that any of these options were in the news.”
Other Victorians who camped over New Year’s in remote parts of NSW shared similar tales.

On Jan. 2 and again on Jan. 3, Eliza’s household, which includes a health worker, called Victoria’s Department of Health to seek an exemption.

She said the phone lines were continuously jammed, but, after hundreds of calls, they managed to get through.

They have yet to hear back about the success of their household application. To work and research, the group would need to return to Victoria.

Eliza said she and her roommates were lucky because, in the meantime, they were able to stay with families in NSW.

But… Melbourne is our house,”But … Melbourne is our home and it’s the home we lived in together,”and it’s the home that we lived in together. “When we came back, we didn’t expect to come back [to NSW]for months.”
She understood why the authorities were quick to close the border, but she also found it “important for the government to provide safe passage for residents.”

Allan said it would be prioritized for key employees and those seeking an exception for humanitarian purposes.

The government also has improved tools to deal with the application backlog, she said.

Allan said, “Each case is treated with individual attention, which takes a bit of time to be processed,”

The decision to close the border was prompted by the spread of NSW cases of coronavirus, ending a two-month stretch in Victoria without local transmission.

Victoria registered three more locally acquired cases linked to the Black Rock cluster on Monday, while two cases from the group were identified overnight in Sydney.

Darren Chester, MP of the Gippsland Federal Nationals, which covers border areas in the far east of Victoria, called on the state government to help people return home.

On Monday, he said to Sky News, “I would urge Victorian health authorities to show some compassion here and work with these people who have done nothing wrong,”

“Don’t blame them for going on vacation when they’ve been locked up for months … Find a way to bring them home.”
Victorian health officials have historically emphasized that the hard line should only be reached by individuals with “genuine hardships”.

Allan also announced a permit system for farm workers on Monday that would allow them to travel under the same strict standards that apply to the freight industry between Victoria and NSW.

This ensures that the vital work that makes an enormous economic contribution to our state and nation will continue to be successful.

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