Paddlesteamers remain in dock as restrictions tighten

By Andrew Johnston

THE NSW Government's tightened Victoria-NSW border closure has decimated Echuca's paddlesteamer industry.

Some voyages were able to continue if boarding and departures took place on the NSW side of the river but the latest restrictions have made this almost impossible.

Murray River Paddlesteamers managing director Rohan Burgess said the changes meant there was no market in NSW.

“With people being advised not to come to Moama, and Victorians still not being able to go on the river, it's simply fallen through,” he said.

“It's already been a huge blow for tourism, you only need to walk around the Port lately and you can see how dead it is.

“I completely understand why the decision is being made, and everyone who runs a business recognises how important it is to make an impact on COVID-19, for the long-term future of the industry.

“But for now there are going to be some issues.”

Mr Burgess said there were ongoing discussions to hopefully allow operations to continue.

“We are still talking with NSW officials, and we have a number of people who are supportive of keeping regional businesses going,” he said.

“But with the numbers continuing to go up at the moment, you can't help but feel like it's unlikely to change.

“I'm an optimistic person, I always try and see the positives in things, but I'm not overly confident about seeing any real changes in the near future.

“Hopefully we will see that change when the numbers come down.”

Echuca Paddlesteamers has not been operating since July 11.