‘They shouldn’t be left to deal with this on their own’
LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has called upon the State Government to give northern NSW businesses the same support offered to those along the Victorian border.
The Labor MP has welcomed an announcement the Queensland border zone will be expanded from October 1, allowing residents from most of the Northern Rivers to visit any part of Queensland.
But she said the strict border rules that have been in place since August 8 had been hurting local communities.
"People who don't live on a border often don't appreciate how difficult it is," Ms Saffin said.
"The border restrictions that came in on August 8, we've lived them every day."
She said the local government areas included in the impending "border bubble" expansion are those that "articulate north".
"It was good to get them in," she said.
Ms Saffin said while 13 council areas on the southern border were getting help, the north of the state was left without the same assistance.
"We in the north are hurting because of the border closures," she said.
"I'm calling for the Premier and the acting Deputy Premier to make that same announcement for the north.
"We've got the health settings right now, we've got the border bubble expanded and now it's time to open up the economy and make sure that we get that right, particularly tourism, hospitality, construction.
"Communities across Northern NSW are crying out for a relief package from the Government to support the local economy, keep businesses open and keep people employed.
"Communities in the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands have had such a tough time this year. First with drought, then bushfires, and then the border closure. They shouldn't be left to deal with this on their own."
She said the current border rules were "very restrictive".
"It created a lot of problems for us, a lot of heartache," she said.