THE Victorian Transport Association has raised concerns about rule inconsistencies for truck drivers crossing the borders of Victoria and New South Wales and Victoria and South Australia.

Due to the rise in COVID cases in Victoria, neighbouring states have increased their controls of travel from Victoria into NSW and South Australia.

There are now new restrictions that, according to the VTA, will create “enormous issues and stress for individual companies” that need to service customers in different states.

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“As from [29 July] all drivers will need to include in their cross border documentation, that include individual permits and COVID Safety Plans into New South Wales and South Australia, valid evidence of having a COVID-19 test within the past seven days,” Mr Anderson said.

“These directives are in direct contravention to health orders in Victoria from the Department of Health and Human Services.”

VTA chief executive Peter Anderson. Credit: David Sexton

Mr Anderson said that in Victoria, truck drivers were directed to have a COVID-19 test “only if we have specific symptoms or feel unwell” before going into quarantine until results are provided within three to five days.

“If we were able to get a COVID-19 test every seven days we would be in breach of Victorian directives if we did not quarantine after testing,” he said.

“The contradictions are obvious and the VTA has raised this issue as a matter of urgency with the Victorian Ports and Freight Minister, the NSW Roads Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.”

The Australian Logistics Council released a statement saying all governments need to adhere to the terms of the Domestic Border Control Freight Movement Protocol they agreed to last Friday by ensuring consistent and accessible arrangements for COVID-19 testing for freight drivers.

“It is disappointing that many of the changes to border arrangements announced over the past 24 hours have occurred without proper consultation with industry,” Mr Coningham said.

“The lack of consultation directly contravenes the national protocol that all state and territories agreed to last Friday.”

According to the ALC, the protocol explicitly says that state and territory authorities “…should consult with other relevant governments, regulators and with industry in relation to border controls at shared borders to ensure that requirements are communicated and understood”.

““What is occurring now is the antithesis of that provision – with changes being imposed with little to no warning, and inadequate time for industry to comply,” Mr Coningham said.

A spokesperson for the Victorian government said they were “aware of the decisions made by the New South Wales and South Australian governments”.

““We’re working with our counterparts in both states to understand how they intend to implement these policies in a way which has minimal impact on supply chains and movement of essential goods,” the spokesperson said.

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