MacKillop MP Nick McBride raises border concerns

BE CONSIDERATE: MacKillop MP Nick McBride urges residents in his electorate to be kind during these unprecedented times: Photo: Supplied

BE CONSIDERATE: MacKillop MP Nick McBride urges residents in his electorate to be kind during these unprecedented times: Photo: Supplied

Concerns have surfaced about the unfair treatment of our cross-border community members who are feeling disenfranchised and let down due to COVID-19.

I am a strong supporter of strict border restrictions, however, to hear that people who live just over the border in Victoria are being treated poorly dismays me.

We never thought that a line on a map would divide us in this way. These people, these neighbours of ours, say they feel like criminals, through no fault of their own.

Many have come into my office, some close to tears, to explain how they have been "shunned" by locals.

They have had their cars damaged or been dobbed into police for innocently going about what they had been told was their "daily life".

We are all doing it tough - but it appears that some cross-border members are doing it tougher.

The restrictions on these people are tight. Their children can play school sport in SA, but not club sport. They are discouraged to attend doctors' appointments in person. They can't go to church.

They can't go to the gym here - or go to lunch with friends because it is not written in the Cross-Border Community Direction. That is despite many of them living just a few kilometres into Victoria. True, you may say, they are allowed to travel farther than 40km into Victoria, therefore putting themselves (and therefore us) at greater risk of COVID-19.

However - the people I speak to are not. These people class themselves as South Australians. Their closest largest centres are in South Australia. They, too, take coronavirus seriously and certainly don't want to be the ones to bring it into our state.

Our cross-border members are vital contributors to our local economies and our social fabric. We need to keep it that way. They work here, they shop here, they educate their children here.

Just because they drive Victoria-registered vehicles does not necessarily mean they are not allowed to be here. We do not want them deciding to do their business further east in Victorian towns, all because they feel some South Australians don't want them here.

We need to be kind. COVID-19 is now part of our daily lives. Who knows when things will change, so please, don't shun those who have a right to be here?