BUSINESS and community leaders have blasted the lack of communication accompanying the latest NSW border changes.
And the member for Albury Justin Clancy admits that it was unacceptable.
Legislation for the new COVID-19 orders was not gazetted until 11pm Thursday, even though some applied on Friday.
The situation meant a number of motorists were turned around as it emerged they had invalid permits to cross the border and there was confusion about how the new measures applied.
A 'border region', including postcodes for places such as Holbrook, Rutherglen, Mitta, Chiltern, Walla and Tallangatta, has been created but it does not mean they are part of the border blue zone.
Instead Mr Clancy explained they were areas whose workers with critical service permits could continue to travel for jobs.
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That means those in areas such as Beechworth, Culcairn and Yackandandah are deemed to be outside the border region.
Those within the blue zone with valid permits are unaffected by the shake-up.
Business NSW regional manager Andrew Cottrill said the late-night execution of the public health order was an epic communication fail with its impacts to be deeply felt by businesses stretched to the limit.
He was flooded with calls from concerned business owners about the fallout from the new border region with some having been turned back at checkpoints.
"Utter chaos on the border has left hundreds of workers stranded in Victoria, with many now required to return via Sydney airport and mandatory hotel quarantine," Mr Cottrill said.
"New rules introduced overnight without prior warning mean critical workers permits have been cancelled.
"It is unfathomable that the NSW government could implement this in the dark of night.
"Our biggest beef is communication.
"If you talk with us about what the problems might be and give us enough time for people to get plans in place to make other arrangements things might be better.
"But at the moment we are being treated like second class citizens."
Mr Cottrill feared for NSW-based tradies outside the border region working in Victoria being unable to return to NSW without having to return via Sydney.
Mr Clancy was still not fully briefed by Service NSW of the detail of the new rules until midday on Friday and Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O'Connor did not get official firsthand information until 4pm from cross border commissioners.
"For me what has been unacceptable is the uncertainty between the public health order and it's adoption," Mr Clancy said.
"I feel and I've made it expressly known again that it reflects a lack of being able to prepare our community to give them a sense of the understanding of changes and in my eyes that is unacceptable and I've made that clear to policy makers."
Mr Clancy it was apparent the process created "massive frustration", leaving the community "to work through all the heartache and headache".
A NSW government representative did not answer questions about the timing and communication of changes, instead defending them and blaming the Victorian government.
"The restrictions protect all NSW residents, especially those in border communities, and are based on health advice," he said.
"Conditions at the border reflect the Victorian health situation and are a consequence of Victorian government restrictions."
Cr O'Connor said the changes had created "a lot of chaos and uncertainty" with residents in her shire worried about their jobs.
"It's a shocking example of very, very poor management with no communication and consultation with the communities and individuals that are affected," she said.
Greater Hume Shire mayor Heather Wilton said more confusion had emerged with the changes which she compared unfavourably to the curfew that applies to Melbourne citizens.
"I said at the outset the cure is going to be worse than the complaint and I think that's being borne out," Cr Wilton said.
"It's very messy and if you live in Melbourne and Sydney you think you're hard done by but just don't know the difficulties in the country in the border areas.
"I know it's tough having to shutdown at 8pm and then go out at 5am but that's a minor inconvenience."
The new rules have provided clarity for Victorian-based students attending schools in Albury.
A valid day school visitor permit holder will continue for 14 days until August 21.
Students and staff living in the border zone will then be able to continue crossing the border to attend school by re-applying for a permit.
But those living outside the border zone will need to comply with the Victorian stay at home stage three restrictions and study at home.
But exemptions for year 12 students and teachers will be available once guidelines have been confirmed.
The Scots School acting principal Mark Geraets was also upset with the government's communication of the changes.
"I was receiving emails from parents from 5.45 this morning thinking their children were not able to cross the border," he said on Friday.
"This is all about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
"There are contradictory messages all the time."
Mr Geraets said some families reacted by enrolling their children into the school's boarding house.
"Parents are desperate to have their kids in school," he said.
"We've also had some casual boarders who are now full-time boarders."
A special schools permit for children who attend special purpose schools such as Aspect has been created.
Meanwhile, Albury Wodonga Health chief executive officer Michael Kalimnios reported he had staff in postcodes outside the border region unable to work.
"We're working with NSW Health on a solution for the current issue where staff who live outside the defined border zone both in NSW and Vic can no longer apply for a critical worker permit," Mr Kalimnios said.
"NSW Health advice is that a solution will be in place later today (Friday), however, we have contingencies in place to support staffing over the weekend.
"The changes impact dozens of clinical and non-clinical roles."
Albury-Wodonga cancer centre oncologist Craig Underhill said permit cancellations at 11.59pm Thursday had prompted a crisis.
"People were in shock about it and trying to get clarification to work through the issues," Dr Underhill said.
"It is a problem this weekend. It could have been handled a lot better by NSW Health.
"We're thankful the patients are not affected, but for the staff this is a crisis we are trying to work through."