1 September 2020

Tania Maxwell used Question Time in Parliament to ask the Minister for Health to account for the Government’s advocacy on behalf of border communities who have faced weeks of disruption due to restricted access to New South Wales and South Australia.

Border communities have suffered continued chaos since the announcement of border closures on 6 July, with serious health-related ramifications and widespread mental health impacts.

Ms Maxwell said she was “extremely concerned” at reports that suggest a lack of access for the New South Wales Premier to testing and contact tracing information from Victoria.

Ms Maxwell said the changes announced today to the permit system would be welcomed by residents living right on the border, but could see a re-emergence of issues for those living  further afield and would wait to see the fine print of the new Health Order.

Ms Maxwell has repeatedly advocated for practical changes to the border permit system and checkpoints to provide quicker access for health clinicians and emergency vehicles.  She said that, despite a lot of feedback about supporting health workers and patients, common sense requests like a dedicated emergency lane at border crossings are still being ignored.

Ms Maxwell has pushed the Government for easing of restrictions in regional areas that have low (or no) cases of coronavirus and said the Government should act now instead of keeping regional businesses hanging.

Quotes by Tania Maxwell MP

“The response from the Minister for Health to my question lacked any real detail about the Victorian Government’s advocacy on the myriad of specific practical issues faced by health workers across Northern Victoria.”

“Border closures have created havoc for nearly three months across Northern Victoria and suggestions that issues with clear communication about case data has contributed to this situation is really disappointing.”

“The response only addressed ambulances, not medical staff driving their own vehicles to attend to emergencies.”