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Member for Murray Helen Dalton calls for expansion of border zone across to Wagga

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Helen Dalton, Member for Murray.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Helen Dalton, Member for Murray.

As border communities continue to struggle with the "moving target" of coronavirus restrictions, a proposal from three NSW and Victorian state members would see Wagga Wagga included in the buffer zone.

Member for Murray Helen Dalton, along with Wangaratta's Victorian Upper House MP Tania Maxwell and Independent member for Mildura Ali Cupper, wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month asking for intervention on the "draconian" NSW border measures.

Since the re-introduction of a stage three lockdown in regional Victoria, Ms Dalton said there was "another layer of complexity" to what NSW residents could and could not do.

"People do not want to do the wrong thing but they're so confused by the rules and each day it seems to change," she said.

Ms Dalton said she was especially concerned by the disruption to local medical services, with many towns within the Murray electorate relying almost entirely on services in Victoria.

The border zone allowing permits for work, education, health and essential goods does not extend to some of these towns, and Ms Dalton said it was already taking a toll.

"It's just impacting on people ... it's a whole gamut of things that are going on that's making life very difficult, and what they're doing in the long term is not sustainable for us," she said.

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In the letter, the three MPs suggested an extension of the border zone from the Wagga to Bendigo to make sure no towns were missing out.

Ms Dalton said across that zone there were very few cases of coronavirus, and with regional Victorians in stage three lockdown she believed her electorate was at greater risk from Sydney travellers than those crossing the border for essential purposes.

"I'm more concerned about something happening where people can't get the appropriate healthcare," she said.

"I think there's a bigger risk in the way we're doing things as far as people's wellbeing, I really do."

Ms Dalton said she was also campaigning for the "urgent" resumption of some medical services on the NSW side of the border, and she believed an increased reliance on Victorian health services for small towns near the border needed to be addressed.

"They've got to put their foot on the pedal and start supplying some of those things on our side," she said.

This story Push to bring Wagga Wagga into border bubble first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.