Health Agriculture | August 19, 2020

Stepping up to support our border communities

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is calling for local residents and businesses to explore ways they can support cross-border residents grappling with a harsh and sudden increase in South Australia’s border restrictions.

South Australia will revoke all cross-border travel permits from Friday, and only residents with properties that straddle the border, and year 11 and 12 students studying in SA will be eligible to apply for a new permit. Limited medical exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Ms Kealy said the decision had blindsided border residents, and was devastating on every level.

“Residents will be forced out of work and education, and denied access to medical support and treatment – fundamental rights of any Australian. Farms will go unmanaged, causing huge animal welfare and food supply issues. Businesses will be left with no choice but to close. Residents will be made to travel hours to get food and other essentials. And this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

“This situation is unconscionable, and is causing enormous emotional, mental and financial stress.

“We need to support one another and work through these challenging times together. We don’t know how long these restrictions will be in place for, and we need to do everything we can to help border communities facing hardship.

“I am asking local businesses to look at ways they can prioritise these communities to make life just a little bit easier for them. This might be through making additional deliveries, or expanding a trade footprint into border areas to help provide for residents’ basic needs.

“These sorts of initiatives will not only help border communities, but will give businesses new markets and a greater ability to stay strong and viable. Businesses have faced extraordinary circumstances in the past five months, and anything that could benefit them while simultaneously helping residents in need would be much-welcomed.

“The generosity and community spirit of our region has always shone through in adversity, and I know now will be no different. I stand in solidarity with our border communities, and I know our region will do everything it can to help them through these difficult times.”

Ms Kealy is continuing to work with counterparts at state and federal levels to raise awareness of border issues and put pressure on both the South Australian and Victorian governments to work together for the betterment of families and businesses on both sides of the border.

“I am very grateful to everyone who has shared their stories and the impact these border decisions are having on their lives and livelihoods. I will continue to fight alongside our communities and do everything I can to get common sense to prevail,” she said.

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