Victorian farmers and agriculture workers' marathon wait to be able to travel into NSW again is finally over.
The NSW government has created a "highly specialised critical services" permit for the agriculture sector which can be accessed via the Service NSW website.
But the permit has strings attached for those living outside the border region zone in Victoria including only moving within 100km of the Victoria-NSW border on the NSW side..
Exemptions for workers needing to move beyond the 100km limit will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Upper Murray beekeeper Matt Gledhill was one of the hundreds impacted by permits being cancelled nearly a fortnight ago.
Today’s announcement of a farmer permit to cross the #Vic- #NSW border is a step in the right direction for #agriculture.— Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) (@VicFarmers) August 18, 2020
We’ll continue to advocate for a similar solution for the #SA-#Vic border- read more: https://t.co/lMU6oQfK2Y#vicfarmerspic.twitter.com/kOLtbKUaXN
He was unable to cross the border from his Pine Mountain base and travel to Griffith where his bees were located.
Even though Griffith is beyond the 100km limit, Mr Gledhill hoped his situation was under control by accessing a separate permit.
"It's allowed me to go and find somewhere else I can put them in about a fortnight's time," he said.
"I'm pretty adaptable and in a worst case scenario I can get a permit to commercially carry stuff on my truck."
"It is definitely a relief because I won't have to chase other jobs," he said.
"It's made a lot of people upset, not just me, a lot of businesses are suffering because of this."
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the changes were a "sensible solution", but didn't fix all the problems.
"It is just the first step towards allowing the critical agriculture sector on both sides of border to operate freely, as it needs to," he said.
"At my request, the health minister (Brad Hazzard) has committed to reviewing the Public Health Order again next week."
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes welcomed the changes, but issues haven't been fully resolved with the 100km ruling a potential "unnecessary complication".
"The NSW government might not be alive to the numbers who are still going to be caught up in this," she said.
"It's still a little bit rich to welcome in the Victorian expertise, but not allow NSW agricultural services and experts to travel beyond the regional bubble into Victoria."