THE mayor of Albury wants checkpoints gone on the NSW-Victorian border by the end of next month
Kevin Mack, fresh being re-elected as mayor on Monday night, said on Tuesday he would like the NSW government to lift the blockade within weeks.
"I'll be pushing for the end of October, there's no reason why that can't happen, and I think the (COVID) numbers in Victoria are demonstrating that, but let's be mindful that overnight it could change," Cr Mack said.
His view was shaped by NSW government pointers.
"What we're hearing from the Premier's office is that mid-October, the end of the month is achievable, providing the health continuum continues to go down and I think that's critical," Cr Mack said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said health experts are examining the Victorian data to help guide the border re-opening.
Her Liberal Party colleague, member for Albury Justin Clancy was ambivalent about Cr Mack's focus on the end of October.
"It would be quite positive to have it lifted by then, but at the same time we don't want to create an expectation around a date," Mr Clancy said.
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He nominated the current school holidays and the following fortnight as being "critical milestones" in tracking the rate of coronavirus ahead of a border opening.
Mr Clancy said "it may well be several days" between the announcement of the border reopening and it occurring.
Deputy mayor Amanda Cohn wouldn't say when she expected an open border.
The GP said she was hesitant to put a date on reopening because it clearly depended on case numbers in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Cr Mack said his focus as leader between now and the postponed council election next September would be on supporting the Albury-Wodonga community rebound from COVID fallout.
In recent months, in light of Victoria's outbreak and community transmission of COVID-19 in New South Wales, those States have been subject to additional conditions for travel to Western Australia.— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) September 29, 2020
"I won't be leaving any stone uncovered, I really won't," he said.
"Twelve months is critical to the recovery of our economy, critical to the recovery of our people and we just need to make it happen.
"Whatever I've learnt in the last eight years (on council) counts for nothing if I can't do that and...I really make that point to this community, stick together and make sure you shop locally and help the people."
Cr Mack said he expected the Border would face a fight for government investment but he was determined to fly the flag for an area "hit doubly hard" by the pandemic.
He wants NSW small business grants increased.
"The $5000 and $10,000 is not enough and the thresholds need to be altered to reflect that," Cr Mack said.
He also wants more support to draw visitors, given the Murray River tourism brand was "damaged".
The re-election of Cr Mack by six votes to three on Monday night, after a challenge from former mayor Henk van de Ven, will give him a fifth consecutive year in the job.
His only predecessors to have longer unbroken runs as mayor since the city was formed in 1946 were Cleaver Bunton and John Roach.
Asked how it felt to be in the same company, Cr Mack, a Carlton supporter, reached for a football analogy, citing his club's most recent Brownlow medallist.
"It would be like putting me in Chris Judd and others company," he said.
"I don't look at that as being something of an achievement because those guys were luminaries and certainly guided this city to where it is today.
"We would all like to think that we had a role to play and we've done something that matters and Two Cities, One Community is something I believe matters and I think it has probably brought us all together in this critical time."