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Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Canberrans still in limbo on Victorian border

Nearly 100 Canberrans are still stranded on the Victorian border as at 5pm today, after the NSW Government has failed to budge on its decision not to honour in-transit permits for travel through NSW to the ACT.

People travelling from Victoria to Canberra were shocked last Friday to find the NSW Government had decided not to honour their previously approved NSW in-transit permits from 11.59pm on Thursday 6 August.

One Canberran said she had arrived at the Wodonga border at 5.30pm on Friday 7 August to be told her permit was no longer valid and has been in a motel awaiting more information ever since.

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“We were shocked we hadn’t been notified by the NSW Government that the laws had been changed and we hadn’t heard anything all day,” she said.

“We didn’t know what to do because we couldn’t go back to Melbourne as I had already begun subletting my apartment and we couldn’t make it back before the 8pm curfew.

“We were thinking should we be jumping to get on a flight now because are they going to go up? Or do we book a motel here because we are already over halfway home.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr stated this morning he had spent the majority of the weekend communicating with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian after also being shocked by the announcement.

“We are still waiting on NSW to respond to the proposals we put forward over the weekend,” he said.

“I think, importantly, acknowledging that the communications on this from NSW have not been as good as they could have been, but moving beyond that specific communications issue to getting an outcome here is important.”

There were originally talks about the extension of in-transit permits until Tuesday, 11 August, but the option had been knocked back.

The ACT Government then proposed the resources of ACT Policing escorting the residents back through NSW, to ensure none would stop while driving through the state.

The Canberra resident, who would have already been one-third through her self-quarantine period if not for the hold-up, praised ACT Health for their communication over the weekend.

She and a friend have been in a Wodonga motel, at an expense of $105 per night, while awaiting a decision from the NSW Government.  

“If the ACT Policing proposal isn’t passed the only solution is to go back to Melbourne and fly to Canberra,” she said.

“That’s a problem because people will need to move their cars. I’m moving back indefinitely, for at least three months, so flying is kind of bad.”

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