The creation of a cross-border continuity of employment permit is among key recommendations being put forward to the state government by Business NSW following a survey revealing about 3000 people are unable to attend work due to border closure rules.
The proposed permit would be available to residents of the original border bubble to enter NSW for work reasons only and to NSW-based permit holders to work in the initial postcode-based zone.
Also, Business NSW wants funds established to enable eligible businesses to access grants up to $10,000 to assist with cashflow and recovery efforts and separately compensate accommodation providers for cancellations due to the border closure.
"How would Sydneysiders feel if there were checkpoints on the harbour and Anzac bridges stopping people going to work?" Business NSW regional manager Andrew Cottrill said.
"Border closure 2.0 was a hammer blow to businesses who are now burning through cash reserves just to stay afloat."
More than 1100 border businesses responded to the survey with every business impacted reporting a $7500 plus average weekly revenue hit.
Some businesses are reporting revenue declines of between 30 and 50 per cent since the border closure were beefed up.
NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian is also being called on to pressure Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to toughen policing on anyone coming to the border from a known city hotspot.
The survey concluded the NSW-Victorian border is the most impacted business community in Australia, despite having no active virus transmissions or active cases presently.
Aspects of the new rules were also more stringent than those imposed on Melbourne hotspots residents who are still allowed to attend their workplaces if unable to work remotely.
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But Ms Berejiklian is showing no signs of relenting on the border closure.
"There are still thousands of people going across the borders every day in both directions and that always carries with it some risk," she said.
"We are in the middle of a pandemic.
"Everybody is suffering and we will continue to support those who need our support, but also people need to think about the alternative scenario and what that would mean for our state.
"My job is to look at the big picture.
"What would be worse for our border communities is if we had to go down the path of Victoria."
The findings of the Business NSW survey were backed up in another survey conducted by the Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce and Business Wodonga.
The survey of 260 businesses revealed 90 per cent had been "adversely affected" by the border closure.
About five per cent of business owners or employees cannot access their regular place of work, but those who can are experiencing significant delays at checkpoints.
"To compound the immediate challenges, businesses are now reporting their fears that because of the border closure they may now be ineligible for JobKeeper 2.0 when it kicks off in October," ANCC general manager Carrick Gill-Vallance said.
"Businesses are not being unreasonable with their concerns. It's in the best interest of the NSW government to find middle-ground so that there's less damage to clean up in the economic aftermath of the border closure."