Just a few weeks ago, you'd have been forgiven for feeling optimistic about the freedoms the new year may have brought.
Australia's borders were opening and COVID-19 was controlled in all states and territories.
The weeks and days leading up to the holiday period were a stark reality check, and a rude reminder there is no such thing as a sure plan in the era of COVID-19.
We cannot begrudge any jurisdiction for doing what it can to keep the virus out. We've seen what can happen when action isn't taken quickly enough, or when the enforcement has let us down.
But governments must maintain good communication. We understand that rules may change at short notice, but that's not an excuse for failing to communicate them.
The way to do that is to be prepared, when announcing major changes like a border closure. The Victorian government said it had been planning its move, yet could not give answers to the very obvious questions that could and should have been anticipated.
It's important people continue to give governments their full support to implement measures to protect them from COVID-19 outbreaks.
There is still a lot of goodwill among most, but a failure to provide clear information or the imposition of arbitrary rules will of course wear this down.
We saw that happen when NSW closed its border to Victoria, and continued to change the rules around permits at short notice. The Victorian roll out has been no better, and arguably worse. No lessons appear to have been learned.
As snap border closures become more frequently enacted as a mechanism to control outbreaks, it's crucial we find a way to communicate between states and territories more effectively.
It's not too much to ask that our governments tell us what we need to know.
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