Cross border community petition to change Victorian permit system

PERMITS: Apsley resident and Cross Border Call Out admin Paula Gust. Picture: FILE
PERMITS: Apsley resident and Cross Border Call Out admin Paula Gust. Picture: FILE

RESIDENTS living on the Victoria-South Australia border have joined their voices to express frustration at Victoria's cross border permit system.

Under the permit system, anyone entering Victoria from South Australia must fill out a permit application every 14 days.

Residents said this causes an unnecessary administrative burden.

Apsley resident Paula Gust said the system was not feasible for many who travelled between the two states daily.

"For the cross border community residents, for work, education, medical, grocery shopping they have to continue to fill out the permit every 14 days," Mrs Gust said.

"Up until a couple of weeks ago, we hadn't really heard of anybody being asked if they had a Victorian permit.

"Then in the last couple of weeks there has been an influx of Victorian Police doing spot checks and asking people if they have their permits."

Mrs Gust operates the "Cross Border Call Out" website, which was created to provide a voice to the border community when border restrictions were first enacted in 2020.

Her group has started collecting submissions from residents affected by the permit system to present to Victorian Cross Border commissioner Luke Wilson.

"We came up with a way of getting things going, which was raising an issue with the cross border community commissioner," she said.

"If each member of the public did that the more the better.

"He can then take that and go on further up the line to flag it and get the conversation going about it.

"Potentially come up with a better solution."

Mrs Gust said she would like to see a similar system to New South Wales, where border residents can travel using their driver's license instead of a permit form.

"It is not even a simple form you have to fill in, there are addresses and how many people would be going to multiple locations in 14 days," she said.

"It is just not feasible. It does not work; it is overkill, it's frustrating and not clearly communicated.

"That is why so many people didn't realise they had to have it.

"Through frustration comes non-compliance."

Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight Roma Britnell said the permit system also placed a burden on the commercial freight industry.

"It makes no sense to have a border zone with permit-free travel with New South Wales, but not with South Australia. That must be rectified immediately," she said.

"The Andrews Labor Government must also start issuing permits with longer expiry dates for commercial freight operators to help keep freight moving and to reduce the administrative burden."

This story Cross border community petition to change Victorian permit system first appeared on Border Chronicle.