RE-OPENING of Victorian and other state and territory borders must be the next step towards economic recovery, the Victorian Transport Association says.
This follows an announcement this week by Premier Daniel Andrews of a significant easing in COVID-19 restrictions.
“[This] announcement of the resumption of trade for retail, hospitality and services businesses, and the easing of capacity restrictions on other industries, is welcome news for Victoria and the rest of the nation,” said VTA chief executive Peter Anderson.
“The flow-on effects for transport operators will be immense as many are able to resume servicing sectors that were forced to close, and those parts of the supply chain can be assured that freight and logistics operators are ready and willing to help them get their businesses back up and running in a COVID Safe manner.
“The next progression of our national recovery must be the end of border closures with Victoria and across other jurisdictions so that supply chains can be fully restored, travel and tourism resumed and confidence instilled in communities that have grown weary of restrictions on their businesses and personal freedoms.”
Mr Anderson said transport operators had worked hard to deal with COVID-19 restrictions.
“Freight and logistics operators have adjusted their businesses to accommodate border crossing requirements during the height of the pandemic but now that Victoria’s second wave is in check it is time to re-open Victoria to the rest of Australia,” he said.
He pointed to the results of the VTA’s latest COVID Insights member survey demonstrating linehaul operators had borne the brunt of border restrictions.
“Our advocacy helped bring about less onerous COVID testing for drivers entering South Australia and New South Wales, which was an ongoing concern for the 43% that agreed 7- and 14-day testing requirements had reduced their productivity, and for the 32% of operators that said requirements had made their linehaul operation less economical,” he said.
“The sooner our borders reopen, the sooner we can expect supply chains to return to some sort of normalcy, which would benefit the national economy and boost consumer confidence – especially in the busy lead-up to Christmas.”