RADIO INTERVIEW – ABC Canberra – with Lish Feyer
Tuesday, 12 October 2021
SUBJECT: ACT/NSW border changes
LISH FEYER, PRESENTER: Let’s have a little bit of a discussion now around what is going to be changing around the New South Wales border. Yesterday there was a lot of confusion around what you could and couldn't do if you're in New South Wales and the freedoms that were being afforded to you if you were double vaccinated. There were lots of great photos, interview opportunities, there's Albo having a skooner of beer, there were haircuts being photographed. But here in the ACT and New South Wales, the border is tricky to negotiate. And we found out that if you lived in New South Wales, and wanted to travel to the ACT for essential reasons, or for work, when you returned to New South Wales, you couldn't have any of those freedoms you had to go back into stay at home orders. Well, that has all changed as of last night joining me this morning, just to give us the updated details on what you can and can't do if you're in New South Wales. Kristy McBain is the Member for Eden-Monaro. Good morning.
KRISTY MCBAIN, MEMBER FOR EDEN-MONARO: Good morning.
FEYER: Last time we spoke there was some confusion, and it seems tricky to get our head around. The New South Wales Government has changed the rules just one day in the state of having eased restrictions, what is the latest?
MCBAIN: So the latest is those New South Wales residents that are traveling to the ACT for essential reasons, work medical appointments those type of things will no longer be the subject of the 14 day stay at home roles, which is fantastic. Something that I’ve long been advocating for because as we all know, huge chunks of our population in the Queanbeyan region in the Yass Valley and even down towards Cooma are coming into Canberra daily and it would have definitely changed how a lot of those workers operate.
FEYER: What is the situation people for people who live in New South Wales and are entering the ACT for essential reasons. So now they just they have to fill in the declaration form still?
MCBAIN: They no longer have to fill in the declaration form if they're coming back into New South Wales like they previously did, they have that freedom of movement. But for non- New South Wales residents, so people from the ACT, if they are coming in to New South Wales after your restrictions that is on the 15th you will have to fill out the NSW declaration form.
FEYER: Okay, so have you organised this through ACT Health that NSW people don’t have to fill in the ACT health declaration?
MCBAIN: We have worked pretty closely with both New South Wales and ACT cross border commissioners and we've been calling for some changes for a long time to make it easier for border residents. The ACT had a set of rules which was more conducive to allowing the border region to operate effectively. And we had been pushing New South Wales to do the same thing and now we are getting some traction. So it is a credit to both governments that they are listening to people on the ground.
FEYER: Well, why the confusion Kristy McBain? Why the rapid turnaround?
MCBAIN: I think as we obviously headed towards the 11th. In New South Wales, there are a lot of people concerned that whilst they might be allowed freedoms in parts of New South Wales if they entered the ACT for work or medical issues that they'd be subjected to an additional 14 days stay at home. So it's common sense prevailing here I think in and we are finally starting to see some nuanced decision making in this period of time.
FEYER: Yeah, and I know the ACT is this missing jigsaw pieces piece of puzzle within New South Wales. And once we're all back together again and everything flows nicely. We won't need the cross border Commissioner as much as won't need to get our head around so many rules which are now over really flexing a lot of people. So that's all good. In terms of pop up testing clinics, I know some localities in your electorate are really low on vaccinations, such as Captains Flat region, how you fixing that?
MCBAIN: If you look at the LGAs in the electorate, we are getting up there with single dose vaccinations. But some of our regions still haven't hit 70% double dose vaccination. And we are encouraging people, there's been pop up clinics in Yass, in Cooma, in Tumut and in Queanbeyan and down the coast. But we are wanting to see more people get vaccinated. We know that the likelihood is there's going to be a ton of people who are wanting to travel regionally and the best way to keep our community safe is to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
FEYER: Well thank you again for your time this morning Kristy. That’s Kristy McBain, Member for Eden-Monaro on those changes. So an exemption has been made to the public health order last night, that will make it easier for New South Wales residents who enter the ACT for work or medical care. If you have been to the ACT for work, or medical care or to accompany someone who is receiving treatment, you no longer need to complete a declaration or follow those state home rules when you return to New South Wales, which is a big change.