The New South Wales Police Minister has called on Victoria to do the “decent thing” and help pay for the cost of closing the border between the two states, as more than 190 new infections were recorded in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Some 1000 police officers and soldiers from NSW are en route to the state border to help secure the crossing when it closes at midnight.
The Victorian cabinet spent much of Tuesday morning in a crisis meeting after the state recorded 191 new infections.
A return to a statewide lockdown for up to six weeks is reportedly being considered as Victoria’s coronavirus crisis spirals further out of control.
Tuesday’s dire figures are the highest yet for Victoria since the start of the pandemic. It comes after 127 cases on Monday and hundreds more in nearly three weeks of double-digit daily leaps in case numbers.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said he felt sorry for people in Melbourne.
“It is a sad situation for Australia. It’s the second largest city, it’s the second strongest metropolitan economy,” he said.
“I feel for the people of Melbourne who have certainly tried to do the right thing.
“But they’ve been let down by a number of circumstances.”
Mr Elliot said securing the Victorian border with NSW was a costly exercise and Mr Andrews should foot part of the bill.
“I would think that would be the decent thing to do, given this is an outbreak that’s caused by a situation in Melbourne,” he said.
“But we can’t rely on other governments to do the right thing all the time.”
The comments come as South Australia announced it will prevent Victorians from entering the state and is deploying extra resources to patrol its border, with some roads to be physically blocked.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens says only South Australians returning and essential travellers would be allowed across the border from midnight on Wednesday.
Further north, Queensland police have refused entry to more than 740 people travelling from Victoria since new border restrictions came in force on Friday.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said 63 people were placed in mandatory hotel quarantine after flying into Queensland from Victoria after the July 3 noon deadline for travel.
At Queensland’s NSW border, 709 people had been refused entry as of Tuesday afternoon, with 12 people placed in quarantine.