ALBURY mayor Kevin Mack has been forced to backtrack, after claiming a move to close the Victorian and NSW border was "imminent".
The city leader was asked by The Border Mail at a 10.30am media conference on Tuesday if he had any discussions with government about the shutdown of the border.
Cr Mack replied that he and Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie had spoken to their respective state governments.
He then said: "I believe an announcement is imminent from the NSW government.
"I won't colour that because I believe they're putting things in place at the present time (so) to confirm or deny that would be just folly."
Cr Mack said later in the media event that "it's not if, it's got be when" in relation to a border shutdown, but he expected exemptions would apply in Albury-Wodonga.
The mayor then spoke on Melbourne radio station 3AW's morning show, which is relayed to Albury's 2AY, about the mechanics of a closure following The Border Mail reporting his comments.
Cr Mack's comments blindsided the NSW government and also frustrated the Victorian government, given Premier Daniel Andrews told Melbourne radio on Tuesday morning of the importance of Albury-Wodonga in keeping the border open.
At 1.52pm, Albury MP Justin Clancy replied on behalf of the NSW government.
"The NSW-Victoria border is and remains open," he said in a statement.
"This is following advice from the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, yesterday and the NSW Premier's office again today."
At 2.09pm, Albury Council's media team emailed what it called a "clarifying statement" from Cr Mack.
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"The NSW and Victorian Cross-Border Commissioners have confirmed that there will be no closure of the border," Cr Mack said.
"My suggestion earlier today that such movement restrictions could be introduced reflect the seriousness of the situation we're facing and the potential for even tougher measures to be taken if the community does not take the COVID-19 threat seriously."
Mr Clancy declined to say if he was disappointed in Cr Mack's statements.
"I just want to ensure that what I'm communicating is my understanding directly from government," he said.
After the episode, Farrer MP Sussan Ley said it was vital people sought news from www.australia.gov.au which covered state details.
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