Kindness needed now

WORDS: Mayor Erika Vickery shared some words of encouragement for cross-border residents who have been vilified amid the coronavirus crisis. Some people have had their cars damaged by vigilantes.

WORDS: Mayor Erika Vickery shared some words of encouragement for cross-border residents who have been vilified amid the coronavirus crisis. Some people have had their cars damaged by vigilantes.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council Mayor Erika Vickery is calling for kindness after members of the community from across the border have been met with hostility.

People from the cross-border communities have reportedly experienced harassment, been verbally abused and in some cases, had their cars damaged, simply for coming from Victoria.

Some posts on social media have even claimed that Victorians have been spat on or had bottles thrown at cars with Victorian number plates.

Mrs Vickery is now urging Naracoorte locals to treat those that come across the border with respect and kindness.

"I have heard anecdotally about some incidents, including that some school kids are being given a hard time, although they have been students and members of their class for this whole year, and they are not going anywhere else besides home and school," she said.

"I absolutely understand that people are anxious, with being so close to the border and we need to continue to be vigilant and follow the guidelines, but we also need to be mindful that those people that are needing to come over the border, are members of our community, and always have been.

"They are here because they are employed here or they are students that go to the schools and we mustn't forget that.

"We need to be kind to each other and treat each other with respect."

"We are anxious about it, and we want to keep ourselves safe, but there is no excuse to be disrespectful and unkind.

She said the fear of a potential outbreak of the virus has caused people to lash out, but said that behaviour is not acceptable.

"It's the fear and anxiety that brings out behaviour that is not acceptable - everytime there is a bit of a spike, people become fearful, but that is still no reason not to treat people with kindness.

"They are no different to us, they are trying to do the right thing."

She said that members of the community should be offering kindness and support to those across the border, who are now forced to change the way they live their lives.

"They are having their daily lives impacted by having to have their permissions to go through, they have to have the regular tests, and go through all these guidelines, just to live their normal lives," she said.

"For their colleagues or community members to then treat them in a disrespectful way just adds to the burden."

Currently, Victorian residents who live within 40km of the South Australian border are able to travel up to 40km into the state for work, education, to give or receive care and for shopping for food, fuel and supplies. They must have a cross border community permit and must get a COVID-19 test as soon as they can within seven days, but can still travel across the border into SA once within this period.

They must produce evidence of having a COVID-19 test, or a COVID-19 test result from within the last seven days.

New regulations, which will come into effect on August 21, will mean no border community residents will be allowed in other than essential workers, farmers with properties that span the border and students completing years 11 and 12.