New restrictions see businesses feel abandoned by state premiers

By Jared Loughnan

Businesses in Mulwala feel abandoned by the NSW government as a result of the tougher cross-border restrictions.

Mulwala Water Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan said he was blindsided by the new restrictions enforced last Tuesday which he said affects 90% of the club’s membership and clientele.

“We feel abandoned by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government,” Mr Duncan said.

“Our communities rely on each other so much to survive, these decisions have affected many livelihoods.

“We are barely keeping our doors open at the moment and then this is put on us. 

 “The Morrison federal government have done a great job keeping businesses going with JobKeeper but these border restrictions do the opposite.”

Mr Duncan said the hasty decision to tighten the border closure which only allows people in Yarrawonga to cross into Mulwala for three reasons; employment, health and education, demonstrated how out of touch the NSW government was with border communities.

“We never see her (Premier Berejiklian) or her deputy premier John Barilaro down here, they obviously do not understand.

“Our local member for Albury Justin Clancy is doing the best he can but it seems to be falling on deaf ears.

“But even though this tougher border zoning is a massive blow our club facilities remain open to our eligible members and we hope to welcome back our Victorian members soon.”  

Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, which boasts Australia’s largest public access golf course of 45 holes, has also taken a big hit with the majority of members also being Yarrawonga-based and therefore not allowed to play golf or enter the clubhouse.

The number of golfers in last Saturday’s competition, for example, totalled 48, some 130 fewer than normal.

But, even during this challenging time the clubhouse remains open with those members that can visit made getting VIP treatment by the friendly staff.

 “Takeaway meals will be delivered on the Victorian side of the border and our snack bar, main bar and gaming area are open,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Savy said.

ClubMulwala CEO Alan Rowe said they are doing everything in their power to stay open and they are remaining upbeat about the tough situation.

“I’ll absolutely remain positive and people who come through our doors, with these reduced numbers, will receive the VIP treatment,” Mr Rowe said.

“We’ve spent nearly $8 million with our major new look, upgrade club, escalators and solar panelled carpark for the benefit of members and guests. We are open.”

Diggers restuarant will remain open each day and StoneGrill from Wednesday to Saturday. Oriental Pearl is also open each day (except Mondays) for lunch and dinner.  The Essenza Day Spa is also open. 

Mr Rowe also acknowledged the difficult and unprecedented situation confronting the Victorian and NSW leaders. “But I’d like to see Yarrawonga people come across to us in this safe environment. I’d like to see common sense.

“Our border towns should co-exist. I feel for all border towns – Barooga, Echuca, Murray Downs, all of them are in the same boat. Their audience predominately comes from south of the border.

“Ninety to ninety-five per cent of our business comes from the Victorian side of the border.”

Member for Albury Justin Clancy continues to campaign for border restrictions to be eased and confirmed on Monday that border zone residents can apply for a new category of permit around ‘caring’ and the receipt of care. 

“A person can apply for this permit so that they can provide or receive care or assistance to a vulnerable person including personal care, mental health or domestic violence services, and services to victims of crime,” Mr Clancy said. 

“This appears when you make application as a border zone resident,” he said.