Shocking footage claiming to show a truck driver sneaking across the Victorian border into New South Wales without a permit has exposed a worrying loophole.
The border between the two states closed for the first time in 100 years on July 8 to stop Victoria’s COVID-19 second wave from spreading into NSW.
But despite heavy police patrols ensuring only motorists with an essential reason cross the border, the brazen driver filmed himself appearing to cruise straight through without being stopped.
NSW Police said they carry out ‘dip sampling’ on trucks crossing the border – meaning only random freight vehicles are chosen for checks to reduce queues.
The video, shared on the viral app TikTok, showed the man driving in the early hours of the morning towards a crossing point between Wodonga and Albury.
‘On our way to cross the border with no permit… feel like a smuggler,’ the video said.
Despite signs appearing warning drivers of upcoming queues, the man claimed he drove into Albury on the NSW side of the border without coming to the attention of border patrols.
He then appears to cruise across the Murray River without being spoken to on a single occasion, even when he approached check points.
‘Nope, it is in fact that easy, just hire a truck,’ he said.
The TikTok user who shared the footage later claimed he had not actually crossed the border without a permit, and had filmed the video as a joke.
But it exposed a worrying gap in the current border checkpoints, which means not every truck is checked for permits.
After footage of the loophole went viral, NSW Police urged people to report those who they know to be flouting border rules.
‘Police will continue to enforce public health orders; anyone who has information about individuals or businesses in contravention of these directions is urged to contact police or Crime Stoppers,’ a spokeswoman said.
The footage comes as police stepped up restrictions on the border this week, with those from the southern state only allowed into NSW for ‘extremely limited’ purposes.
From midnight on Tuesday, a border zone was set up along the Murray River and all current permits for crossing back and forth will be cancelled.
Residents in the border zone who wish to travel between the states are now forced to reapply for permits under tougher criteria.
People will only be permitted to travel for work, for education if they can’t work or learn from home, or for medical care, supplies or health services.
Mr Hazzard said the new protocols will make it harder to obtain a permit and make it easier for the state government to cancel them.
NSW Police admitted heavy goods vehicles are still only being checked on a random basis.