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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

NSW Police Minister says Victoria should pay for police helping border closure

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Victoria should foot the bill for the 1,000 New South Wales officers and soldiers deployed to close the state border, NSW’s Police Minister has said.

Around 650 police officers and 350 members from the Australian Defence Force will set up road blocks and drones along the 1,000km-long New South Wales-Victoria border before it’s closed at midnight on Tuesday. 

NSW Police Minister David Elliott called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to cover the cost of the policing, as it was Melbourne‘s second wave of COVID-19 cases that sparked the border shutdown.

‘I would think that would be the decent thing to do, given this is an outbreak that’s caused by a situation in Melbourne,’ he said on Tuesday.

Around 650 police officers and 350 members from the Australian Defence Force will help close the border between NSW and Victoria - which comes into effect from midnight on Tuesday. Pictured sign warning of fines for those entering NSW from Victoria

Around 650 police officers and 350 members from the Australian Defence Force will help close the border between NSW and Victoria – which comes into effect from midnight on Tuesday. Pictured sign warning of fines for those entering NSW from Victoria

NSW Police Minister David Elliott (pictured) called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to do the 'decent' thing and help cover the cost after Melbourne's explosion in COVID-19 cases

NSW Police Minister David Elliott (pictured) called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to do the ‘decent’ thing and help cover the cost after Melbourne’s explosion in COVID-19 cases

‘But we can’t rely on other governments to do the right thing all the time.

‘As far as the New South Wales government is concerned, we’ll be providing the financial support that’s necessary.’

But Premier Andrews hit back saying he doesn’t know the NSW Police Minister and ‘simply’ has no time to argue with him.

‘I will speak with [NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian] with that issue and she hasn’t raised that with me,’ he said. 

Victoria recorded its largest spike in cases on Tuesday recording 191 new infections, and the whole of Melbourne has been placed into lockdown once more. 

Lockdown had been introduced in 12 hotspot postcodes last week, but now that has been expanded to the entire metropolis as infection numbers continued to escalate.

The border between NSW and Victoria will close from midnight for the first time since the Spanish Flu crisis 100 years ago.

Anyone caught crossing the border without a permit could find themselves in jail for up to six months and be hit with an $11,000 fine.

Mr Elliott said some Melbourne residents had been ‘let down’. 

‘It is a sad situation for Australia. I mean, it’s the second largest city, it’s the second strongest metropolitan economy,’ he said.

Anyone caught crossing the border without a permit could find themselves in jail for up to six months and be hit with an $11,000 fine. Pictured NSW police at Sydney Airport on Monday

Anyone caught crossing the border without a permit could find themselves in jail for up to six months and be hit with an $11,000 fine. Pictured NSW police at Sydney Airport on Monday

Firefighters in hazmat suit deliver food to those locked down in Melbourne housing commission towers on Tuesday

Firefighters in hazmat suit deliver food to those locked down in Melbourne housing commission towers on Tuesday

‘I feel for the people of Melbourne who have certainly tried to do the right thing.’

Roads into NSW have been categorised into three tiers, A, B and C.

There will be checkpoints at five main highways between the two states including the Wodonga Place and the Hume, Cobb, Stuart and Princes highways. 

In the B tier, 29 roads will be monitored by police around the clock.

The last C category which includes 20 dirt tracks and less populated roads, will be monitored through drone surveillance. 

‘This isn’t a punishment,’ Mr Elliott said.

‘Don’t think we’ll have police, military personnel with big black sticks trying to punish people for doing something.’

People line up for a COVID-19 testing clinic in Albury near the NSW/Victoria border on Tuesday

People line up for a COVID-19 testing clinic in Albury near the NSW/Victoria border on Tuesday

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