Seasonal worker border permit rules changed

By Brayden May

SEASONAL workers in border communities including Echuca-Moama have had a reprieve after restrictions stopping them from travelling into NSW were lifted on Friday.

Under the changes, workers must still prove they have not left their border zone district in the past 14 days.

The amendment was confirmed in a statement by NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall.

Workers will be given a border permit on the basis they “declare they have not travelled in Victoria, outside the border zone, in the last 14 days''.

They will also be required to produce evidence of their place of residence and place of work.

Mr Marshall said restrictions on seasonal workers accessing the permit for “critical services” would still apply.

“This is an important and progressive move, ensuring our farmers have the workers they need to keep primary production moving in this state, and ensures the $1.4 billion southern horticultural industry has a successful harvest,” he said.

“I would like to thank the strong support and assistance from industry, particularly Citrus Australia, as we have worked towards a sensible solution to this issue.”

Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said he was pleased to see a change in the original decision.

“This is great news for the hundreds of farms and farming families the length of the Murray, because so many of them depend on backpackers and seasonal workers and would have been facing some very tough choices,” Mr Walsh said.

“It is not only a sensible decision, it is the right decision and I thank our Liberals Nationals partners in the NSW Government for getting this sorted out quickly.

“But it is another example of a vital industry thrown under a bus by the Andrews Labor Government and its mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis that saw almost 1400 new cases in just two days last week.

“I hope this decision by NSW will now filter down to make changes for such simple decisions as letting our children in river towns cross the border into the Victorian half of the bubbles so they can play sport and take part in valuable extracurricular activities.”

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