NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian not offering a timeframe for checkpoints ending

Thank you: Following her media conference, Gladys Berejiklian gives appreciation to police involved in patrolling the state border. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
Thank you: Following her media conference, Gladys Berejiklian gives appreciation to police involved in patrolling the state border. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

FULL opening of the NSW-Victorian border seems to still be many weeks off with the NSW Premier offering no timeline for a checkpoint end.

Gladys Berejiklian said Victoria's coronavirus cases, testing and tracing would be crucial to that decision.

"We want to have confidence that once restrictions are eased (in Victoria) the virus isn't spreading again, I think that's really important," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We won't leave the border shut a day more than it needs to be.

"As soon as the health advice to me says 'Premier it's no longer a health risk', my government will jump at that opportunity."

Asked by The Border Mail if she expected crossings to be fully open by the school holidays at the end of September, Ms Berejiklian was non-committal.

"I don't want to put a timeline on it but please know our sentiment, the will of our government, is not to have the border closed for a single day longer than we need to, because we appreciate the angst for these communities," she said.

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Ms Berejiklian welcomed the continued fall in daily COVID case numbers in Victoria, but said that figure would not be the sole driver in reopening the border.

"The case numbers if they're managed aren't the issue, the issue is how quickly is the contact tracing happening, how quickly are people being told they've got the virus," she said.

"(Those) to me are the more critical questions to ask."

Ms Berejiklian said she took heart from Albury Wodonga Health appointing a contact tracing team to work on any outbreaks in North East Victoria.

"That increases my confidence because when you have NSW and Victorian health officials working together that is a positive thing," she said.

Addressing the closure's fallout, Ms Berejiklian repeatedly said she regretted what had occurred but said she had no other option.

She revealed she had been contemplating the shutdown up to three weeks before it occurred on July 8.

The Premier said the frustration was "completely justified".

"If I was in your shoes and something changed overnight which is going to impact my life I would feel let down and I'd feel disheartened and concerned, so I completely empathise with what many people in our communities have felt," Ms Berejiklian said.

She suggested the $45 million announced to assist businesses cruelled by the border blockade may be followed by more assistance.

"We hope that many businesses will take up that opportunity for extra funding, if we need to do more we will, but it also depends obviously on the length of time the border is closed," Ms Berejiklian said.

Asked about the shortage of locum doctors at Albury hospital, Ms Berejiklian said efforts were being made to fill those positions.

"I'd like to think at no stage was anybody denied the treatment they needed at all stages our health officials on either side of the border were working together to make sure nobody was disadvantaged," she said.

This story Premier unwilling to put end date on NSW-Vic border checkpoints first appeared on The Border Mail.