• NSW Police officers check cars crossing from Victoria into New South Wales at a border check point in the NSW-Victoria border town of Albury. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Albury-Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service has welcomed the easing of border restrictions, but warned against becoming complacent in protecting against COVID-19.
Keira Jenkins

1 Sep 2020 - 4:14 PM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2020 - 8:00 PM

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced an easing of restrictions at the NSW-Victoria border that will come into effect on Friday.

Currently, residents with permits to cross the border must stay within a 2.5 kilometre zone, but will be able to travel up to 50 kilometres on either side of the border from Friday.

Albury-Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS) clinic manager Lauren Blatchford told NITV News that the service had been relying on telehealth to deliver health care to many people in the community.

Ms Blatchford said she hopes the easing of the restrictions means people will be able to access the services they need much more easily.

"We're hoping that will increase our community's ability to come and access health care services and hopefully provide more face to face consults that the community definitely rely on," Ms Blatchford said.

"It does also make health care a lot more accessible and easier to provide face to face services so we're hoping it'll have a positive impact."

But Ms Blatchford said although the easing of restrictions is welcome, she warned against becoming complacent when it comes to COVID-19.

"We do have concerns in regard to complacency," she said.

"Will community and staff be on top of their game with COVID and hand hygiene, mask wearing, that sort of stuff.

"It's always important that, although restrictions are easing, we keep the message out there to be COVID safe and to follow the guidelines as well."

In announcing the easing of restrictions, Premier Berejiklian said the safety of the community was a priority but the border will not remain closed for a day longer than is necessary.

"We have to make sure it's the right thing to do at the right time, and it's in order to make sure we're keeping the community safe," she said.

"I'd rather be having this conversation with you today rather than having a conversation about why there are hundreds of cases in regional New South Wales because of what's happening in Victoria.

"That's certainly a conversation I would never want to have...

"As difficult as it's been, please know the decision of the government and my decision was coming from a place of good intention and, of course, we won't leave the border closed for a day longer than we need to."

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