Farmers call for sensible approach to border closure

NSW Farmers is calling for a sensible approach to border closures and agriculture in light of the decision to close the Victoria border from midnight tomorrow.

It is imperative agriculture is deemed as essential service and that the closure has exemptions in place to reflect this.

NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson says the exemptions to the border closure should be modelled off those used in Queensland earlier this year.

“Border communities are set to be hardest hit by this change, but there are also several commodities in NSW that will be impacted through possible constraints on freight and access to processing plants, feed and other necessities,” Mr Jackson said.

“These factors were recognised in Queensland when its border restrictions were being ironed out. Important exemptions were made for freight and logistics and for border communities.

“The permit system created an easy way for essential services to travel across the Queensland-NSW border, and this should be installed at the Victorian-NSW border as well.”

Mr Jackson says it is crucial agriculture is recognised as an essential service in the border restriction process.

“When Covid-19 first threatened the continuation of agriculture, NSW Farmers and other organisations advocated strongly to have agriculture deemed an essential service.”

“We will continue to advocate for the same outcome, as movement across the Victoria-NSW border is critical to a lot of our producers.”

“At the moment, for example, we have the citrus season underway, and the Sunraysia region is right near the Victorian border.”

“We need measures that acknowledge the human health threat created by the coronavirus, but also represent a sensible approach to the continuation of essential services,” Mr Jackson concluded.

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