COVID free Albury-Wodonga and other river communities are being punished with stricter border closures at a time when Sydneysiders are enjoying holidays in other parts of the state.
The mayors of Albury, Wodonga and Indigo councils were united yesterday in their condemnation of the tightening of the border closure rules which have directly impacted thousands of residents and all hoped NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian would make a visit to see first-hand the dire impacts of the move.
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie said a surge in tourism numbers in other parts of NSW highlighted the inequity imposed on border residents presently.
"It's fine for Sydneysiders to get out and go and do what they like on the weekend, but our people can't go to work," she said.
"Our people are frightened to go to medical appointments. Our kids are scared to get across (the border) and can't go and play their sport, which is important for their physical wellbeing and also their mental health."
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Albury mayor Kevin Mack also stressed the strain the tightened measures were having on the mental health of residents.
"Health is paramount, but more importantly mental health is paramount in our people," he said.
"This is what they're not including in their thinking is the mental health and the stress they're putting on families right across both sides of the border."
The NSW Business Chamber is conducting a survey on the impacts to local business.
"If you are able to complete that survey do so, so we can get the necessary information that we require to make a stronger case to the premier and her government that these things need to change," Cr Mack said.
Fourteen councils along the Murray River from Wentworth to Corryong are joining forces in an attempt to convince the NSW government to ease the latest border crossing restrictions.
Cr Mack said he was yet to hear directly from Ms Berejiklian despite her comment this week she was in regular contact with community leaders.
"If Gladys wants to give me a call I'm happy to speak to her," he said.
Indigo mayor Jenny O'Connor shared Cr Mack and Cr Speedie's frustration, with many residents from towns in her shire area including Rutherglen, Beechworth, Chiltern and Yackandandah unable to attend work due to the tightened bubble.
"We've already got a situation where people are willing to do the right things by distancing," Cr O'Connor said.
"That's why we've had such low numbers of COVID up here and in my shire we've had none at all.
"These people are no longer allowed to go to work because we're seen as a threat to NSW.
"It's absolutely unfair and it has to stop."