NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has taken a swipe at Victoria’s border restrictions, as her state recorded a second consecutive day with no locally acquired COVID-19 cases.
Victoria eased some restrictions on travel from NSW at 6pm Monday, but still rates 10 Sydney local government areas as “red zones” on its traffic-light border control system announced earlier in January.
“First of all, I don’t really understand the traffic-light system, I just want to make that clear,” she said.
“Second of all, I would have liked to have seen that decision taken a long time ago.”
Ms Berejiklian said Victoria’s restrictions meant about one million people in Sydney would still not be able to travel south.
“There is currently no part of Australia that is a hot spot,” she said.
“Therefore there should be no border that is closed to Australian citizens.”
- Victoria’s “traffic light” system is explained here
On Monday, the Victorian government downgraded its border restrictions for those in the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and all but 10 LGAs in Sydney, including Blacktown, Parramatta and Inner West.
On Tuesday morning, the Australian Capital Territory announced it was no longer considering the northern beaches a hotspot, but would keep restrictions in place for the same 10 LGAs as Victoria.
Ms Berejiklian said border closures were “a really big deal”.
“I say to all of my colleagues, please base your decisions on the science and the facts,” she said.
While NSW testing numbers increased slightly in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, the 10,621 swabs that were returned was still well below government targets of 20,000 a day.
Ms Berejiklian said her government was keen to ease social-distancing restrictions in the state, but warned testing needed to increase for that to happen.
“Not only do we look at the low to no case numbers, but we also look at the testing rates, that’s really important,” she said.
At a press conference near Tweed Heads, just kilometres from the Queensland state line, Ms Berejiklian said other states had a “hasty” and “overreaching” approach to boarders.
She said she was “frustrated” people who lived in northern NSW still needed to apply for permits to enter Queensland.