Border region calls for new policy

Murray River Council, New South Wales, will continue to push for a shift in border-region-policy once the current COVID-19 crisis has eased.

Whilst the current restrictions across both New South Wales and Victoria have halted visitor numbers, Mayor Chris Bilkey said Council was still throwing its full efforts into working with governments to come up with sustainable, longer-term solutions for border communities in this new COVID-era.

“We’re not looking to heavily criticise a government dealing with a complex issue.

“We want to encourage them to work with local community leaders to come up with a safe strategy that encompasses more practical economic options when faced with restrictions as a result of any future outbreaks.”

Murray River Council has invited other councils along the border to join them in the advocacy initiative and has been working closely with Murray Regional Tourism Board to highlight the full economic hit the region has taken – $1billion lost to the local economy along with 10,000 jobs – over the past 18 months.

“This is about putting forward economic data and stories to get the conversation to the table.

“Whilst we resolved to allocate money towards this public push, we are hopeful that any funds will predominately be used towards a recovery campaign for our area when we reopen.

“We won’t be throwing money at a quick fix because in reality, there isn’t one.

“The stories of our locals and businesses should be showcased to highlight the economic importance of the region, so that we then have a platform to drive the conversations around longer-term solutions.”