Border closure minimum six weeks

By Robert Muir

The current arrangement of crossing the Victorian/NSW borders into NSW could last at least six weeks, which will be to at least until mid to late August, according to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller of Sydney.

“The Victorian lockdown looks like it will be a minimum of six weeks (from July 7) so I imagine we would be staying the course for at least that,” he said in Albury last Thursday.

The one local crossover into NSW checkpoint is located over the Yarrawonga Mulwala Traffic Bridge beside the road entrance into ClubMulwala.

“The worst bank up of traffic has been half way along the bridge,” Sergeant Scott West from Sydney told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

“It has been a smooth transition - the longest delay would be about four minutes. On a nine hour shift it the total number of vehicles would be in the high eights (800s).”

The checkpoint is being patrolled by police officers and defence personnel. On duty last Saturday were four police officers and five ADF personnel.

It has been incident-free. “It’s been smooth, no trouble,” first-timer to Mulwala Sergeant West said.

The smoothness of passage has largely been due to motorists having a permit. Motorists who are required to cross the border regularly for employment,  health, education or ‘essential services’ should, by now, have obtained a 14 day permit – together with personal identification such as driver’s licence - to cross the border into NSW. 

The permit-stated reasons for entering NSW are work, education or daily life which excludes social reasons.

Sergeant West was full of praise for the people crossing into Mulwala, as was Sergeant Brett Barnes from Sydney in respect of people travelling into NSW at Corowa. Sergeant Barnes described to our newspaper in Corowa, The Free Press:  “They’re a lot of nice country people.”

“Beautiful people” was how Sergeant West described the people travelling into Mulwala from twin town Yarrawonga and elsewhere in Victoria in what was a team approach by patrollers.

“Acting Sergeant Whelan (at Mulwala) couldn’t do enough for us whilst doing their normal daily work.”

Acting Sergeant Whelan added to the praise of everyone, particularly locals during the coldest month of the year.

“Visiting and local police are very proud of the response from the community,” he said.

“Local businesses have provided free food and drink, and free fire wood. The community has been very supportive.”

There could be a return visit at some stage by Sergeant West who returned to Sydney on Monday. After being advised about our two magnificent, championship golf courses in Yarrawonga and Mulwala which includes Australia’s largest public access golf course, it was revealed, after some probing by the Yarrawonga Chronicle, that the Warringah Golf Club, Sydney member plays off a three-handicap.