Farmers vexed by border closure

By Geoff Adams

Farmers who regularly use cross border bridges between Victoria and New South Wales are seeking assurances that new border restrictions between the two states won't interfere with their businesses.

Barooga cropping farmer Brett Wright regularly travels across the Cobram-Barooga bridge to obtain farm input supplies.

Although he won't be using the bridge to send his crops to market for a few months, he buys chemicals from Shepparton, fertiliser from Congupna, and needs tractor parts from Shepparton.

“For us, our major businesses for the farm enterprise are in Cobram and Victoria,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon he had not seen any information about how to apply for permission to use the border crossing.

Barooga seedling wholesaler Jack Florance grows millions of vegetable seedlings under about four hectares of hot houses.

At the height of his growing season he has trucks travelling across the Cobram-Barooga bridge two or three times a day.

“It's a bit of a worry how it's going to work. There will be thousands of people trying to get permits,” he said.

“Our kids go to school in Cobram, too. It's going to be interesting. I hope it's not going to be a mess.”

He is hoping to get permission to cross the bridge and also hopes the system does not slow down or choke the crossing.

The Yarrawonga-Mulwala bridge, further east along the Murray River, has about 8000 traffic movements daily according to NSW Maritime and Roads Department.

Moira Shire mayor Libro Mustica urged residents to observe the restrictions and have patience with the new arrangements.

He expected police manning the road blocks would exercise discretion for the first few days when people were getting accustomed to the restrictions.

Asked if people were worried about the border restrictions, Cr Mustica said: "We just have to accept it, be positive and move on.”