28 July 2020

Member for Northern Victoria, Tania Maxwell has again backed local clinicians’ continued call for a dedicated emergency lane at the Albury-Wodonga checkpoint.

Ms Maxwell said she had spoken with clinicians on the border who continue to experience delays crossing the border between health facilities.

Ms Maxwell cited one report of an ICU doctor who was trying to cross back into Albury and called for police assistance, only to be told they were “too busy”.

Border clinicians presented an open letter last week and called for a dedicated emergency services lane for timely and safe movement of patients and staff.

Ms Maxwell has been assisting residents and stakeholders across Northern Victoria with permit and border crossing issues, and said local leaders were keen to work together with Police Border Control Command to implement practical changes at the ground level.

Police Border Control Command this week reinstated a teacher’s permit, incorrectly revoked seven days ago because of misinformation at the border checkpoint. The teacher lives in Albury but works outside of the border zone in Victoria, and had their permit revoked and told they were required to self-isolate.  Ms Maxwell said she had worked with the school and the Cross Border Commissioner, and was pleased that police at the checkpoint had intervened to reinstate the permit and it showed that managing solutions at the ground level was possible.

Ms Maxwell hopes a dedicated emergency lane could at least be trialled for a week to see if it was effective.

Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell MP:

“Lights and sirens aren’t the only issue here.  Border clinicians are stuck in queues at checkpoints while trying to respond to clinical emergencies.”

“It’s one thing to be ‘allowed’ to cross under the permit system, it’s quite another to be jammed in traffic and this is what clinicians keep telling me is a clear problem.”

“We’re just asking local Police Command to make some modifications to the checkpoint, at least as a trial, and to keep working with local clinicians on a solution.”