THE Victorian government has announced a hard border will be in place with South Australia from midnight Thursday for 48 hours ahead of the implementation of a permit system.

This follows the discovery of a COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide.

Under this hard border arrangement, only freight drivers and those with medical or emergency reasons are to be allowed to enter Victoria.

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“The Victorian government is finalising details of the permit scheme, however we expect freight workers carrying out their essential work will qualify, so long as they meet any conditions of the permit,” said Victorian Transport Association chief executive Peter Anderson.

“In our consultations with the government on these announcements, we have sought to ensure any new border crossing requirements are clear, balanced and equitable, and that transport operators are afforded enough time to ensure they can comply with any new conditions.”

From Thursday interstate truck drivers travelling through Victoria from South Australia are to be offered extra COVID-19 testing at a site at Nhill on the Western Highway, with other testing sites being activated.

“It is our understanding that testing is not a requirement for heavy vehicles at this stage,” Mr Anderson said.

The Transport Workers’ Union, meanwhile, welcomed an exemption for truck drivers.

TWU Victorian Tasmanian branch secretary John Berger said the union began discussions with the Victorian government this week after testing of truck drivers on the border began.

“We are pleased the Victorian government has consulted us on this issue to ensure truck drivers will be able to enter Victoria from SA when the border shuts tonight,” he said.

“We do not want to see a repeat of the difficulties truck drivers experienced when they entered NSW from Victoria a few months ago after the border shut.”

Footage of Premier Daniel Andrews announcing the border closure can be viewed here.

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