Drum angry at 50km travel limit

By James Bennett

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum is calling on the National Cabinet to find a way not to punish regional Victorians and river communities impacted by the recent NSW-Victorian border closure.

He said ahead of Friday's National Cabinet meeting there needed to be advocating for regional Victoria to not be treated as a "second cousin".

People living on the NSW side of the Murray River cannot travel more than 50km without having to self-isolate for 14 days leaving many workers with no solution but to remain in NSW.

“These decisions seemed to be made without any rationale, any date and without any evidence,” Mr Drum said.

“Ultimately, they are effectively throwing all these river towns into the same basket as Melbourne."

Mr Drum said it was a "ridiculous rule" citing staff in his Shepparton office who had been forced to work from home to avoid self-isolation.

“Hundreds if not thousands of people have been affected by this 50km limit, which has been put in place without any rationale,” he said.

“It seems as though this 50km limit has just been plucked from the ether, and and put upon all the people who travel across the border for work or for other services.

“So we're just calling very strongly for a little bit of common sense here.

“We're not downplaying the risks associated with the virus, what we are simply saying is, let's treat regional Victorians where the people that are leaving one clean environment to travel to work in another clean environment, let's let them do that on a daily basis.

“People that need to get across the border, should be allowed to do that and regional Victorians should not be treated as though they are somehow rather associated with the virus that's coming out of Melbourne.

Mr Drum said he had no problems with recent decisions to lock Melbourne and Mitchell Shire down because of a second wave of coronavirus sweeping across the city.

He said the decisions were being made from conversations and negotiations between the NSW and Victorian governments.

“So it's Daniel Andrews talking to Gladys Berejiklian and this is the result we have,” he said.