Food supply chains in Victoria could collapse if coronavirus testing rules aren’t changed, transport bosses claim.
Truck drivers entering New South Wales and South Australia from Victoria are now required to take a COVID-19 every seven days if they’re crossing borders.
The strict rules are an attempt to curb the widespread outbreak in the southern state which saw an enormous spike on Thursday with 723 new cases.
But the Victorian Transport Association slammed the move saying the regulations would hold up 650,000 tonnes of food and building supplies entering the state each day.
‘In Victoria we don’t test for asymptomatic cases … you cant get a test just because you feel like it,’ VTA chief executive Peter Anderson told 3AW radio on Thursday.
To be compliant with Victorian laws, truck drivers would have to quarantine for three to five days while waiting for the test results.
‘For us to comply with that, it means we would have to break that law.’
About 15,000 trucks arriving in Victoria with essential goods every 24 hours.
Mr Anderson also wrote in a letter to VTA members that proving drivers had been tested would be difficult because there are no written or electronic test receipts, according to The Australian.
‘While the transport and freight industry has been softly affected in border crossings there are now new restrictions that will create enormous issues and stress for individual companies that need to service customers in other states.’
It comes three weeks after Services NSW mandated that some truck drivers would have to isolate for 14 days when entering Victoria.
The NSW government back-flipped on the decision a day later and made a new permit for drivers to ensure they were able to transport freight across the Victorian border each day.
All Victorians will be required to wear a mask in public from next week after the state following the spike in cases and 13 deaths on Thursday.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned that Melbourne’s crippling lockdown will likely be extended if case numbers continue to rise.
‘Ultimately, every Victorian, I think deep down knows and appreciates that unless everyone plays their part this lockdown will not end anytime soon,’ Mr Andrews said.