| August 25, 2020

Reprieve for border communities as SA reverses lockout decision

Dogged advocacy from cross-border communities and MPs including Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has forced the South Australian Government to reverse its crushing decision to lock out most cross-border residents from its state.
SA Premier Steven Marshall today announced that after a huge campaign against the border closure – which affected everyone except students in years 11 and 12 and those undertaking
agricultural or primary industry work near the border – the 40-kilometre buffer zone for cross-border communities would be reinstated at midnight on Thursday.
The cross-border zone was removed on Friday last week, throwing the lives and livelihoods of residents on both sides of the border into chaos.
Ms Kealy said there were hundreds of heartbreaking stories from residents who were blindsided by the hard border closure. 
“Families were split in two, people were unable to access work and healthcare, students could not go to school, and residents were denied access to essential supplies,” she said.
“Cross-border communities had not recorded a case of COVID-19, yet they were singled out and subjected to extreme and unnecessary measures because of what was happening elsewhere in our state. It has been simply devastating.
“The news today that the 40-kilometre zone will be reinstated is by no means a silver bullet for our cross-border communities – we still need to see the detail and ensure there is a clear and efficient process for genuine cases for exemption permits to be issued. But it was absolutely essential that the SA Government changed its border measures and recognised the overwhelming effect they were having on our communities.
“I share the relief that so many in our cross-border communities will be feeling today.
“I sincerely thank everyone who has spoken out and shared their stories at this incredibly difficult time. I would like to also recognise the amazing work of those behind the Cross Border Call Out Facebook page, who have helped lead the charge for change.
“The reinstatement of the 40-kilometre bubble won’t solve all the problems facing our border residents, but it is a much-needed step in the right direction.
“I will continue to advocate on behalf of our communities, and will be pushing for the South Australian Government to extend the bubble to the original radius of 50 kilometres and to ensure that people who genuinely need exemptions will be able to receive them."
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