Christmas to come early to cross border community

BORDERS OPEN: Premier Steven Marshall announced today that the SA/VIC border will be open on December 1.
BORDERS OPEN: Premier Steven Marshall announced today that the SA/VIC border will be open on December 1.

Cross border community members have been given an early Christmas gift with the announcement that the border restrictions between Victoria and South Australia will be lifted from December 1.

Premier Steven Marshall announced today that the restrictions will be lifted entirely from midnight on December 1, meaning Victorians will no longer be required to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

Anyone wishing to enter South Australia will still be required to apply for a cross border permit online, and border checkpoints will still be in place, but they will not need to be COVID tested or quarantine on entry.

This is good news for cross border community members, who have been separated from their families for months.

Paula Gust, who has worked tirelessly advocating for the cross border community over the last several months through the Cross Border Call Out Facebook page, said the news was "overwhelming."

"I am overwhelmed, it's fantastic," she said.

"People are asking why can't it happen today, but this is a light at the end of the tunnel now.

"This is what we have been fighting for all these months and it's all been worth it.

"It's been a really long, hard slog for so many people, but we've got there. We've got the promise, and we just have to keep behaving."

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She said the community members had been very supportive of each other during the hard months.

"The community of people that we have following the page, everyone has supported each other through that, and shared their stories.

"It's a typical country community.

"This exactly what we were fighting for, and we're nearly there."

Mrs Gust and her husband, like many families along the border, had to make life-changing decisions due to the border closures, including having to relocate to South Australia in order to be in the same state as their children.

Mr Marshall said the lifting of restrictions would bring it in line with the other states, which have no restrictions.

"The transition committee met this morning and I am very pleased to announce that as of December 1, we will be lifting the border with Victoria," he said.

"This is a border that has been in place for an extended period of time, it has been a very important border to keep our state safe, but this will be removed as of midnight on the first of December.

"This will be a huge relief to people as we head into December.

"We always said we did not want to keep the restrictions in place for one day longer than we need to, but we did have to have this border in place, and it was our first line of defence to keep South Australia safe."

Mr Marshall also announced that South Australia's Transition Committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss other remaining restrictions, including discussions around relaxing capacity restrictions on venues and activities.

He said it's expected digital check-in technology will be available from around November 20 and the introduction of it will allow stand-up consumption of alcohol.

South Australians will also be able to travel to Western Australia as of midnight tonight, with WA also removing some border restrictions as well.

This story Christmas to come early to cross border community first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.