Long queues at border as travellers ‘escape’ Victoria

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grey nomads at Victorian border
Cars were banked up at the Albury border crossing. PIC: ABC News / Allison Jess

With the border between Victoria and New South Wales closing at midnight last night, there have been long queues of travellers trying to get out of the Garden State.

The ABC reports that about 1,000 NSW personnel — 650 police officers and 350 soldiers — were deployed to the Victorian border to seal the border.

The six main arterial roads between NSW and Victoria to have checkpoints will be Wodonga Place and the Hume, Cobb, Sturt, Newell and Princes Highways.

There are 28 “category B” roads that will also have a full-time police presence.

Twenty other dirt tracks will be patrolled through aerial surveillance.

As of midnight, the only people permitted to cross the border are returning NSW residents, who must self isolate for 14 days, and some other exempt categories of people such carers, seasonal workers, students or people applying on compassionate grounds.

Defying the new public health order carries a maximum penalty of $11,000 and six months in jail.

Tim Gilbey, the Infectious Diseases Specialist at the Murrumbidgee Local Health District — which  covers much of southern NSW — said he was concerned by reports of holidaymakers seeking to get out of Victoria because of the renewed lockdown.

“It is a worry, we saw similar behaviours in Italy earlier on in their outbreak and that led to disastrous consequences,” he told the ABC. “So I would caution people against trying to cheat what seems to be the rules or cheat the system.”

Graeme Hoare, who runs the Lake Talbot Tourist Park at the NSW town of Narrandera on the Newell Highway said he’d seen mass movement at the border.

The Newell Highway is one of the most common inland routes for southerners heading to the sunshine in Queensland.

“I call it the ‘Great Escape’ what a lot of people are doing, because they need to get out by 11:59pm,” said Mr Hoare. “Once everyone leaves, the parks in southern New South Wales will be very quiet.”

The owners of the Jerilderie Motel and Caravan Park, Mark and Ally Fitzpatrick, say from southern road-trippers heading north normally stay for just a night on their way through. However, they also stop to buy fuel and food which is a big economic driver in regional towns, so they will be missed.

“Normally, 80% to 90% of our traffic comes from Melbourne and Central Victoria,” Mr Fitzpatrick told the ABC.

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5 Responses to Long queues at border as travellers ‘escape’ Victoria

  1. iam from darwin i have been living on the river murray near rutherglen and corowa for three months can i cross into nsw

  2. This annoys me. Restrictions are brought in to keep people safe, not to be weaseled out of at the last minute!
    How many of those people racing to cross the border now know if they’ve been in contact with someone who had Covid and didn’t know it in the previous week? This is how what happened in Melbourne will spread to other parts of the country.
    I think it’s pretty irresponsible. If you don’t have a legitimate reason to be travelling out of Victoria right now and just want to “escape” the danger zone, or be somewhere warmer, it seems to me that you don’t have much compassion or empathy for your fellow Australians who, at this stage, are feeling a lot safer about not living in the hot spots.
    Stay wherever you are people! Please!

    • Notice today, Wednesday 8th July that the road block at Albury, police had already detected and turned around approx. 5 cars with people from Vic hotspots trying to get through to NSW. Makes you wonder how many are already across the border before the roadblocks were set up. Some people need to take a look at themselves and how they behave during these trying times. The saying that we are all in this together doesn’t ring true as far as I’m concerned, they are those few in the minority who just don’t care. Be on your alert to anyone that are presently travelling within NSW and see Vic rego plates, you just never know

      • I would say there a people who have slipped through the net so to speak. Time will tell if and when new covid cases start popping up in other areas.
        I agree with you that there are people who’s behaviour is mindless or selfish. Unfortunately many of these people don’t necessarily think their behavour is wrong or is not acceptable to others in society. Many of these types are currently part of the prison population serving time for something they’ve done wrong or awaiting judgement for something they’ve allegedly done wrong. They are locked away from society as a punishment and some for the safety and security of the general population. So yes, many don’t care about their behaviour.
        It would not be wise to judge people because they drive a vehicle registered in Victoria. There are businesses in many states with their fleet of vehicles registered elsewhere. It would be normal behaviour to notice Victorian number plates under the current circumstances, however common sense should prevail.
        We are all still in this together and I would say a lot of Victorians are really hurting right now because of what has happened. I feel for the grey nomads who have missed out on what would probably be the main event of their year. Stay safe and I pray things will be better next year.

  3. I wonder what the rules are for Victorians already on holidays in NSW and do not want to go home.

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