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Recovery committee to address border impacts

Thursday 20 August 2020
There are hopes of changes to border restrictions and the provision of NSW Government support to local businesses, following a high-level meeting between border council leaders and the NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, in Albury today.

Agreement was reached to establish a Border Recovery Committee, which will examine ways of using government financial support to help local businesses, as well as restoring the confidence and well-being of our community.

Earlier, AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack presented the Deputy Premier with an Analysis of Key Impacts and Proposed Solutions, and urged the Government to consider the following solutions to ease the economic and social impact of the closure on the local community:

  • Amend the definition of the ‘Border Region’ to include communities such as Henty, Culcairn, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Whorouly, and others
  • Extend the new Highly Specialised Critical Services (Agriculture) Permit to other critical industries including manufacturing, construction, medical, hospital, pharmaceutical and dental, to allow those who live in Victoria but need to work in NSW within 100km of the NSW-Victorian border to get to work if they cannot work from home
  • Establish a cross-border support package for businesses and residents affected by the closure
    Provide economic recovery packages for the short and long term
  • Ensure greater consultation with the local community including health services and practitioners about any changes to Public Health Orders and timelines for them taking effect, and
  • Share Government data to help councils understand the full impact of the closure on the Albury Wodonga Regional Economic Zone

“AlburyCity understands the issues the NSW Government is confronted with at present and the difficult balance in protecting the health of NSW residents whilst at the same time keeping the NSW economy functioning,” Cr Mack said.

“We’re very pleased with the response we received from the Deputy Premier today. He acknowledged our very real concerns and like us, is keen to get local people back to work at a time when our economy is taking a heavy hit.

“We estimate that more than five per cent of residents in the Albury Wodonga REZ are currently unable to go to work, resulting in a $39 million decrease in our Gross Regional Product.

“With local businesses battling an average weekly revenue shortfall of more than $8,500, it’s very clear that urgent action is needed by the Government.

“Mr Barilaro has indicated he’ll return to the border next week, at which time we hope to see some very encouraging ways forward towards recovery.”

Today’s meeting follows a series of approaches by AlburyCity, strongly pressing the Government to ease the impact on cross-border communities that are uniquely and extensively disadvantaged by the border restrictions.

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