BREAKING UP: Pressure is building to decouple regional Victoria from Melbourne in the roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions.

By CHRIS EARL

PRESSURE is building to decouple regional Victoria from Melbourne in the roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions.

While the State Government has rejected calls, support for greater travel freedom is linking with positive signals out of NSW and South Australia to ease border access restrictions.

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh also threw his weight behind NSW opening the border to regional Victorians and said allowing the regions to progress to the last step independently of case numbers in Melbourne would give confidence to the NSW Government to allow country Victorians to travel over the border.

“I would have thought a show of good faith from the Victorian Premier to decouple regional Victoria from Melbourne would be a good signal to NSW,” he said.

The South Australian Government was due to discuss border restrictions yesterday.

Member for Mallee Anne Webster wants South Australia to implement a relaxed border region, similar to that which has been created for the Victoria-NSW border, which would allow for the return to daily life for those living along the Victoria-South Australia border.

“An unlimited border resident permit would be more efficient, and would reduce the need for excessive testing for people in Murrayville,” she said.

“I also want to see South Australia apply the easing of border restrictions to the entire Victoria-NSW border region, which took effect on September 4. This would mean that residents of towns all the way along the Victoria-NSW border, including Mildura… would have free access to South Australia.”

“The absurdity is South Australia is now open to flights from Sydney, where new COVID-19 cases have been reported. Yet, the most direct road from Sydney to Adelaide, which includes a 100km stretch of the Sturt Highway via Mildura, cannot be used because it runs through Victoria.”