The NSW Government closed the state’s border with Victoria today, with strict penalties in place for anyone who breaches the new rules.
The temporary closure came into effect from 12.01am Wednesday, 8 July with both NSW Police and the Australian Defence Force deployed to enforce the measure.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government had moved quickly to implement the border closure following the concerning community spread of COVID-19 in Melbourne.
“There are around 55 border crossings between NSW and Victoria so closing the border is a mammoth task – but it is the right step to take in order to protect the health and jobs of NSW residents,” Mr Hazzard said.
A number of measures came into force from midnight including:
- Road closures in place across the NSW and Victorian border;
- Any planes from Victoria arriving at NSW airports met by police and health staff; and
- NSW residents returning from Victoria required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Mr Hazzard said anyone who seeks to enter NSW in defiance of the Public Health Orders will face heavy fines and penalties.
“NSW has had to take this serious measure in order to protect the NSW community – and we ask everyone on both sides of the border to take it seriously,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Anyone who fails to comply with the new rules could face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $11,000 or both.”
Other than returning NSW residents, only limited categories of people are able to cross the border, such as:
- Critical service providers including agriculture and mining workers;
- Emergency services workers;
- People requiring medical treatment;
- Children attending boarding school; and
- People needing to meet legal obligations.
Provisions are in place for residents of border communities, such as Albury-Wodonga, to cross borders for work, education or daily life without requiring to self-isolate.
To enter NSW, people must apply for a permit on the Service NSW website and if any inaccurate information is provided in the application process, a new on-the-spot fine of $4,000 will apply. Those permitted to enter will also need to comply with any conditions of an entry permit such as the requirement to self-isolate.
People transiting through NSW must take the most direct route out of the state.
“These are essential health protection measures that will guard our residents against the transmission of infections across the border, so I urge anyone who develops even the mildest symptoms to get tested,” Dr Chant said.
For more information on permits please go to service.nsw.gov.au/covid-19.
The Public Health Order is available here: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/