NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted at a possible easing of border restrictions for some residents as early as this Friday, as the state battles with a growing cluster of COVID-19 cases in Sydney.
Addressing media on Monday, Ms Berejiklian said she may make announcements on the Victoria/NSW border by the weekend.
“There is no doubt I appreciate the concerns raised and I will be guided by that and the health advice,” she said.
“We are foreshadowing relaxation of the borders in relation to border communities and what they can do and I will have something to say about that later in the week.”
Her comments come as Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the restrictions for the agricultural sector unable to work across the border between NSW and Victoria meant many were facing ruin.
Mr Barilaro said the situation was “at the 11th hour” for producers across NSW, who needed an adequate workforce for the fast approaching harvest season around the Albury-Wodonga region.
Ms Berejiklian said a discussion regarding the border between both states will happen during National Cabinet on Friday.
Agriculture Minister Adam Wallace said the current situation was unworkable and would further harm primary producers, who are still working to recover from the drought.
“Our farmers have had a gutful of these senseless border restrictions and so have I,” he said.
“As Agriculture Minister I am not going to stand by quietly while our primary producers face failed crops and animal welfare disasters due to well-meaning but impractical road blocks.”
An Agricultural Workers Code will be presented and considered at the next meeting of National Cabinet on Friday, and at a meeting of Agriculture Ministers on Tuesday.
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Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has hit back at critics regarding her border restrictions with NSW, saying there’s no chance she will reopen while community transmission is still happening in Sydney.
Speaking to media, Ms Palaszczuk said her job was to keep Queenslanders safe – and that meant standing by border closures.
“Queensland will continue to have our borders closed to keep Queenslanders safe,” she said on Monday.
“I’m not going to be moved on this. So the Federal Government can throw whoever they want at that, we can have Clive Palmer as well, but I’m not going to be moved because fundamentally the health of Queenslanders is my number one concern.”