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Mayor calls for border support

Monday 20 July 2020
AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack has called on the NSW Government to provide specialised financial support to local businesses, as further tightening of border restrictions takes a rising toll on the border economy.

The State Government’s latest restrictions will significantly reduce the number of people allowed to cross the border into NSW from midnight tomorrow.

Cr Mack says Albury Wodonga is unfairly carrying a burden caused by COVID-19 cases in Melbourne and Sydney, and local businesses are bearing the brunt.

‘We have no new known cases of the virus in our community but the NSW Government’s border restrictions are strangling our businesses so it’s critical that the Government provides extra support to our local business operators who are suffering through no fault of their own,” he said.

‘The tightened restrictions are also creating a frustrating situation in which someone who owns a business in Albury but lives in, say, Yackandandah, cannot travel to work, meaning that their business will have to close with all the loss of income and employment that sudden closure causes.

‘The NSW Government must recognise that its actions are adding to the troubles of the local business sector and the government needs to step up with financial help to keep our businesses afloat until the crisis is over.’

Cr Mack says he understands the need for tighter controls to stop the spread of the virus but has expressed disappointment at the lack of consultation from the government over the border closure.

‘Council has not been asked for any input at all into how this situation is being managed, leaving our community struggling to catch up and to deal with the enormous social and economic impact of the closure,’ he said.

‘I urge the NSW Government to not only provide financial aid to offset the impact of its decisions but also to consult with our community before taking steps that have such a devastating effect on us.’

Cr Mack has promised residents that council will continue to fight for them.

‘I’ve had countless calls from business owners, community leaders and residents alarmed at how the singling out of our community is creating hardship and I’d like to assure all of those people that we’re doing everything we can to help,’ he said.

‘However, these decisions are taken by the State Government, not council, and I hope that the government and its departments will heed the calls from our community and move quickly to ease the worst of the effects.

‘We will continue to work with the State Premiers and government agencies to get us through this challenging time but the onus is now on government make the border a special case and look after our community accordingly.’

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