THE Victorian government is creating a squad of bureaucrats to tackle problems created by COVID restrictions, but do not expect a return to daily life permits soon.
Eight so-called Border Brokers will come from the regional development and agriculture departments and take feedback on problems.
They will supplement Victorian Cross Border Commissioner Luke Wilson and their findings will be reported to Regional Development and Agriculture Minister Maryanne Thomas.
"Our teams work with their NSW counterparts, all the time they're in conversation with them, and certainly our Border Brokers are to resolve challenges or work to resolve challenges that Victorian government restrictions may deliver," Ms Thomas said.
However, the minister ruled out a quick return to daily life permits.
"I know how frustrating it is but while the caseload out of NSW and the infection rates remain so high, there are no plans for change," Ms Thomas said.
The minister held an online meeting with North East mayors on Monday ahead of her brokers plan being publicly unveiled.
Indigo mayor Jenny O'Connor said she "strongly advocated" that a 10-patron cap on hospitality sites be changed to a per square metre rule to allow more businesses to operate viably.
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Ms Thomas told The Border Mail in response: "I understand what the issue is, but we are operating on the basis of the advice that is provided to us by the chief health officer."
She said the brokers could give feedback on it to her.
Wodonga mayor Kev Poulton queried the need for brokers, given a group involving civic leaders already existed to help the minister.
"Border Brokers is just I think another level of administration and bureaucracy," Cr Poulton said.
"I think what's bamboozling each and every border resident, regardless of what side of the river they sit, is the inconsistent way of addressing this threat.
"They're really struggling to fathom to understand we're all Australians."
Benambra MP and the Victorian Opposition's new spokesman on regional cities Bill Tilley queried the practical worth of the brokers.
"I'm not sure whether any of this will make it any better for the Blazing Stump Hotel, Eddies Tavern or Bethanga pub next weekend and it certainly won't re-open the Granya Hotel," Mr Tilley said.
"It won't help Beechworth's Golden Heritage or the Lake Anderson Caravan Park at Chiltern for the rooms they lost in these lockdowns when no fund exists any more for accommodation businesses.
"They certainly won't let us get on with 'daily life' when people can't get across the river to exercise, can't get their haircut at the place of their choice and can't play community sport," he said.
"The diktats of this Melbourne-centric government are either wilfully ignorant or intentionally designed to give us the lockdown you have when you don't have a lockdown.
"We have a litany of businesses who have been denied help, so many who have been rejected, they've never been told why - we can only live in hope that this latest thought bubble from the Labor Government might deliver some meaningful change."
Cr O'Connor said given the level of the COVID outbreak in Victoria as well as NSW she did not "expect to see any significant loosening of restrictions until we reach those double vax rates or get the numbers under control and we're nowhere near that".
Cr Poulton said he raised the issue of police resources in Victoria being switched from a border focus to a concentration on tackling those travelling north from locked down Melbourne.
Towong mayor David Wortmann said he believed there needed to be simpler messaging to those on the Border and a return to daily life permits.
"People don't know if they've got the right permit and people feel uneasy because they don't know if they've filled it out correctly," Cr Wortmann said.
Moira mayor Libro Mustica, who said he would make COVID vaccination mandatory for everyone if he was prime minister, was more relaxed.
"I really think within six to eight weeks most of the restrictions will be lifted as we get to 70 to 80 per cent vaccinated, we don't have a choice about it, that's why I'm not too concerned about it," Cr Mustica said.
He admitted the border bubble had not been as troublesome for his Murray River communities as elsewhere.
"The bubble has worked for us, at Albury-Wodonga it's a whole different ball game, you've got two cities there," Cr Mustica said.
Ms Thomas said in addition to the impact of restrictions, the Border Brokers would report on tourism fallout and workforce issues.
Their contact details will be spread through councils, businesses and industry groups over coming days.