New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard must immediately review the state’s border controls, Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire said today.
Mr Maguire made the call after a day and a night of confusion at the border and in trucking company offices.
“In implementing the border controls, Minister Hazzard ignored the proven success of Queensland’s border controls and decided to invent a NSW-specific system without input from trucking businesses and their staff,” Mr Maguire said.
“Throughout the day on 7 July, we were advised that NSW would not require truck drivers to apply for border crossing permits. But Minister Hazzard’s direction requires truck drivers to apply – through an online form with a host of issues – and then reapply every two weeks.
“The NSW direction also requires drivers crossing the border into NSW to self-isolate for 14 days.
“It’s completely unclear what this means. Let’s take a truck driver who lives in NSW and whose job involves loading wheat in western Victoria and delivering it to a NSW flour mill.
“Does the driver have to move out of home and into quarantine for an indefinite time? We just don’t know.”
Mr Maguire said the ATA did not dispute the need to close the border.
“The NSW Health Department and Service NSW need to listen to the industry and Transport for NSW to make the border controls clearer and less complicated,” he said.
“To start with, trucks need to have clear passage across the border without the need for permits. If permits are necessary, they should be issued for six weeks, not two.
“And Minister Hazzard needs to clarify the self-isolation requirements as a matter of urgency.
“What this country, and our community, need right now is certainty and confidence. We are calling on Minister Hazzard to provide our industry with that,” he said.