Indigo Mayor Jenny O'Connor says the concerns of rural border communities are yet to be heard by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who made "disappointing" comments about the Queensland-NSW border closure.
Speaking to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's decision to ban Sydney people from the sunshine state from Saturday, Ms Berejiklian told the media yesterday: "It would have been nice if she told me, but that's fine".
"I'm feeling pretty disappointed to hear that the NSW Premier has come out so strongly about the closure of the Queensland border, when she hasn't made any contact with any of the mayors from our areas to talk about this border closure," Cr O'Connor said.
"That was done without any warning, and our consistent pleas to be listened to have not been responded to by the NSW government.
"I'm disappointed and frustrated, and I'm intending to continue to publicly speak out about this. So many people in our community are hurting."
Cr O'Connor said she had been in contact with Victorian MPs and Indi MP Helen Haines, but the 14 mayors representing river communities had had no joy with Ms Berejiklian.
She is becoming less hopeful, after more than a week, that there will be a change to the permit system to allow people outside the blue border zone to get legal approval to cross the river for work.
"I'm really concerned, because in fact we're hearing the opposite - that there's no intended change to be made for the people of Beechworth and Yackandandah," she said.
"We've got many people that work in the border region and equally, people who rely on contractors coming across.
"I don't feel hopeful and I think this needs to be elevated to the federal level.
"Clearly, the Premier of NSW is not listening to the 14 mayors that put out a statement last week of the impact."
The mayors want a "right to work" permit that allows people outside of the blue zone to cross, rather than a return to the 50km zone.
"It doesn't matter where you live, if you're able to work safely and you're not in an area of risk due to spread of coronavirus, you should be able to work - people could get tested, isolate if they had to - whatever it takes," Cr O'Connor said.
"People have a right to earn an income in their own business and in their employment.
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"This year has already had a huge economic impact on our shire, and the visitor economy has completely stopped again.
"Now, people who are wage earners in NSW or who are business owners in NSW are being impacted.
"Both our visitor economy and small businesses are now being impacted unnecessarily; we do not have, and have not had, a case of coronavirus in Indigo Shire, so we are not a threat to NSW.
"It doesn't make sense, it's hurting border communities on both sides."
More than 1000 Indigo Shire residents can't get to work - 14 per cent of the working population.
The statistic was shared in a statement put out by Indi MP Helen Haines yesterday.
"Young people have been unable to start new jobs. Health care staff have had to jump through hoops to do their work. A thriving Wodonga hair salon has lost 60 per cent of its business in the past seven days," she said.
NSW gov must allow worker permit for border residents. Harsh border restrictions are devastating livelihoods.— Helen Haines MP (@helenhainesindi) July 29, 2020
There's no justification for the economic & social hardship imposed on our communities -we have no community transmission. It’s unfair & illogicalhttps://t.co/8ODarpVyMypic.twitter.com/6pSDNWPnsg
"Border residents and their families are wearing the cost of the COVID-19 second wave in Melbourne, Mitchell Shire on Melbourne's northern perimeter and in Sydney.
"The fact remains - many people in our border communities, where there is no incidence of COVID-19 community transmission, are unable to go to work and transact business because of the NSW Government's border restrictions.
"But if you live in Melbourne and Sydney you can go still go to work.
"It's unfair and illogical. We need a better way."