Benalla Ensign

Haines and Ryan want Rose City back in border bubble

- By Simon Ruppert

When Benalla Rural City was dumped from the border bubble, without warning, in early September it left many in the community concerned.

The Rose City had to fight to be a part of the border bubble 12 months prior, having been left out despite being ringed by Local Government Areas that were included.

Once it was eventually added, life was made much easier for those who travel for business, school and medical appointmen­ts in NSW.

However Benalla was pulled out again once state borders were strengthen­ed following the outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines and State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan have pointed out that with Benalla having a high rate of vaccinatio­n it should be reinstated in the border bubble.

“I am really frustrated by this,” Dr Haines said.

“We have one of our LGAs with the highest rates of vaccinatio­n that is excluded from the border bubble.

“And this has implicatio­ns to people in business.

“Just yesterday

I spoke to developers, they can’t have their staff travelling from Albury down to their new developmen­t site here in Benalla where they’re trying to build houses, and we know how desperate we are for housing in Benalla.

“There’s many people contacting my office confused around crossing the border to get medical treatment.

“I want to make it clear that if you are needing to go to Albury for medical care, and many use the cancer centre, you can cross the border no problem.

“You need a letter from your doctor, and you need your driver’s licence.

“And I really want to make it clear to the people of Benalla that they can nominate a driver to take them, and they won’t have to isolate on their return.”

Dr Haines said she was meeting twice a week with the border commission­er, pushing for Benalla to get back into the border bubble.

“I’ve written to the premier, and I’m going to keep fighting to get Benalla back in, because it’s so important that we have access to the border.

“And as I said, Benalla should be rewarded for its incredible vaccinatio­n rates.”

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said there was no evidence of COVID-19 in the local community and the government’s decision had done nothing but create difficulty for local people.

Please note that was correct at the time. However, there are now four active cases in Benalla.

“After raising my concerns in Parliament about Benalla’s sudden removal, I have today written to the Health Minister to demand Benalla’s immediate reinstatem­ent in the border bubble,” Ms Ryan said.

“I have been inundated by locals who need to enter the bubble to travel for medical appointmen­ts, work or for reasons of care or compassion.

“It was completely heartless of the government to cut Benalla from the border bubble with no notice and with no explanatio­n.

“It is keeping families apart and creating huge stress for people who need to travel to Albury for medical treatment and work.

“Almost a month after this ... decision was announced, the (state) government still haven’t bothered to explain why they took this drastic measure.

“I have been contacted by many constituen­ts, including elderly residents worried they needed to complete 14 days quarantine after returning from cancer treatment in Albury.”

Ms Ryan urged the government to work with NSW to design a common set of rules.

“Benalla has... one of the best vaccinatio­n rates in the state, with 85.8 per cent of the eligible population having received one dose and 61.2 per cent fully vaccinated,” Ms Ryan said.

“The government ... must immediatel­y reinstate Benalla into the border bubble.”

State Health Minister Martin Foley’s office has been contacted for comment.

 ?? ?? On the outer: Benalla is currently not included in the Victoria-NSW border bubble.
On the outer: Benalla is currently not included in the Victoria-NSW border bubble.

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