The NSW Parliament has been told about the "real suffering" occurring in Albury-Wodonga because of the border closure with Victoria.
Albury MP Justin Clancy returned to Sydney this week and explained the situation to his colleagues, saying people had "dug deep and taken on the most complex web of restrictions with good grace".
"But there is real suffering going on, from the financial to emotional and in terms of mental health," he said.
"There is also a recognition, with such low virus numbers continuing week after week - now some four weeks since the Victorian outbreaks were identified and the border closures introduced - that the border communities are living with, in some cases, a higher level of restriction on daily life than has been the case in Sydney and at times in Melbourne itself."
He said the border closure was a "dramatic way" to learn how people would cope with caring for each other while separated kilometres apart, but supported the decision to keep it closed.
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"Our identity along the Murray since Europeans arrived has been shaped by political boundaries - by lines on paper. The crossing place has become the harsh border," Mr Clancy said.
"We have been tasked with being NSW's southern boundary, to limit the incursion of COVID into the broader NSW community.
"Our border pain is part of the price, part of taking a hit for the greater good.
"We know the border is a bulwark for the protection of the state."
He said minimal COVID-19 cases in Albury was a testament to the protection offered by the permit process, and the police and Australian Defence Force personnel enforcing at the checkpoints.
Initial reports from Albury businesses revealed that businesses sales were down 30 per cent to 50 per cent and just 39 per cent of businesses are operating normally.
"It must be understood here in Sydney that many border businesses have not simply suffered from restricted access by their customers; they might quite literally have been cut off from half of them,' Mr Clancy said.
"Restrictions on border crossings imposed by New South Wales now rests in a difficult embrace with stage three restrictions imposed by Victoria on its regional citizens."
He called for government grants to help keep businesses going.
"Regional payroll tax should be considered as this is a tool capable of delivering a shot of assistance and stimulus right into the heart of each country town," he said.
"That is also where extra money will be spent - in local shops and for local services."
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