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Border communities begging for clarity from Service NSW amid permit ‘nightmare’

Residents of communities which straddle the NSW-Victoria border face being shut off from family and employment.

Permits allowing free passage across the border for towns like Albury and Wodonga are supposed to be made available through the Service NSW website ahead of the closure, which takes effect on Wednesday at 12:01am.

Wodonga Mayor Anna Speedie told George Moore the two towns are inextricable from each other.

“Two and a half years ago we signed a joint agreement called ‘two cities, one community’, because that’s how our cities work.

“We all have family on either side. Half of each of our populations work on either side.”

She said the permit system, when implemented, may not be practical.

“If you’ve got to sit in a queue for two hours to go to work and two hours to come home, it’s going to be a nightmare.”

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In the NSW town of Euston, the Euston Club Resort is so close to the border their phone number has a Victorian area code.

General Manager Guy Fielding told George Moore he’s already had accommodation cancellations, and without clarity the impact on the business could be enormous.

A huge proportion of their clientele, he said, come from their Victorian twin town Robinvale.

“It’s going to have a huge impact on our workforce, but unfortunately even a worse impact would be the fact that our customers can’t get across to utilise our facilities.

“Some exemptions, with these permits need to happen because it’s going to be devastating for us.”

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Shadow public service minister Sophie Cotsis told George she’s demanding answers from the NSW Premier and Customer Service Minister.

“This is absolute chaos.

“It’s still not ready, and …  it’s 11 hours until the border closes, and people are going to be stuck there.”

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Image: Getty

George Moore