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Monday, April 12, 2021

Stranded ACT residents allowed to come home

Canberra residents who have been stranded on the Victorian border since last Friday, 7 August, have today been told they will be able to travel through NSW and back to the ACT from tomorrow, 13 August.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced today a five-day window (13-17 August) starting on Thursday, which would allow those with existing permits to travel through NSW into the ACT.

The residents were travelling from Victoria to Canberra when they were notified at the NSW border their previously approved NSW in-transit permits had been rescinded from 11.59pm on Thursday 6 August.

Mr Hazzard said ACT residents would be supervised and required to travel within NSW only between 9am and 3pm on those days.

“We have made arrangements with NSW Police and those residents will have four [five] days to come back from Victoria by a direct route,” he said.

“They will have a four-day [five-day] window from that starting from tomorrow and hopefully those folks can get back to their arrangements with the ACT to self-isolate and quarantine.”

As part of the health direction, travellers will also have a designated stopover point halfway through the trip and will be unable to re-enter NSW for 14 days.

The NSW and ACT governments have been negotiating terms since the weekend, with the ACT Government offering multiple solutions to bring residents home.

Most recently, ACT Policing resources were put forward to escort Canberra residents travelling in transit through NSW.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed the announcement today, despite hoping it had come sooner.

“I regret that it has taken this long to resolve this matter. We have throughout the process sought to put forward sensible, practical solutions to the legitimate issues that were raised by NSW,” he said.

“We all understand the circumstances in which we find ourselves in this pandemic and I want to thank them for their patience, also for their advocacy with ACT Health.

“This is an outcome that, although several days late, is positive and I want to welcome it.”

ACT residents will be required to self-isolate for 14-days following their arrival in the ACT, with those arrangements already signed off by the ACT Government. 

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