New COVID-19 border crossing requirements have been described as unworkable by the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) amid growing concerns changes imposed at both New South Wales and South Australia will create major disruptions to supply chains.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson said the new requirement for drivers to have had a COVID-19 test within the past seven days contravened current directives from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services for testing only if symptomatic and/or feeling unwell.
Criticism leveled at state governments intensified this morning when Anderson, addressing VTA members, said the new restrictions, which come into effect today, created enormous issues for individual companies that counted on the service they provided customers in other states.
“From today, all drivers will need to include in their cross-border documentation, that include individual permits and COVID Safety Plans into New South Wales and South Australia, valid evidence of having a COVID-19 test within the past seven days," he said.
"These directives are in direct contravention to health orders in Victoria from the Department of Health and Human Services," Anderson said.
“In Victoria, we are directed to have a COVID-19 test only if we have specific symptoms or feel unwell. We must then quarantine until the results are provided within three to five days. Also, we are not given any written or electronic receipt of the test.”
If drivers were able to get a COVID-19 test every seven days, Anderson pointed out, they would be in breach of Victorian directives should they not quarantine after testing.
“The contradictions are obvious and the VTA has raised this issue as a matter of urgency with the Victorian Ports and Freight Minister, the NSW Roads Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister,” he said.
“There is no doubt that we are in testing times,” continued Anderson.
“While the transport industry has been spared many of the restrictions so many other business sectors are having to endure, we are now feeling the brunt of the continual increase of COVID-19 cases that are stemming within Victoria.
“The interstate trucks that drive across these two borders each day and night are approximately 15,000 one way. The average tonnage carried is in excess of 650,000 Tonne per day connecting to thousands of supply chain connections.
The VTA is looking to have these directives altered to enable border crossings to be workable and still maintain individual safety.”
(Image: Peter Anderson, VTA CEO).