While regional Victoria finds relief over the easing of restrictions, the smaller towns along the state’s western border have something extra to celebrate — they can now return to organised sport with their South Australian team mates.
South Australia Police confirmed on Facebook Tuesday night that Cross-Border Community Permit holders can now cross for the purpose of organised sport, which previously was not considered a reason for travelling.
They said that those heading across must have had a COVID-19 test within the past seven days, and those entering from Victoria cannot travel further than 40 kilometres over the border into South Australia.
Breaking down barriers
Member for McKillop Nick McBride says that the news was welcomed by sportspeople on both sides of the border.
“[This] is a good move in the right direction. I’m sure it will help and will ease some of the tension that this cross border community has had to wear,” Mr McBride said.
“I’m hoping that these borders get easier and easier for all the right reasons, rather than get the hard closures that the cross-border communities had to engage so far.”
He said that it is a hopeful sign of things to come.
“We know that the mental health and strain on the cross-border communities has been immense,” he said.
“I think that there’s a pain that’s been so huge, and [the way] the closure of the border went and how it came to be.
“Now South Australia has a really big job to try and re-engage the Victorians to say ‘we actually do want you, we actually do need you, and we’d like your participation in the South Australian economy’.”
Preparing for summer
With winter seasons cancelled, eyes are now turning to summer sports.
Up until now there were doubts about whether Victorian teams that play in South Australia, like the Apsley Cricket Club which plays in the Naracoorte and District Association, would be able to compete.
Secretary and treasurer of the club Kaddie Cother said that while they were hopeful the change would allow them to compete, there were issues about where their home ground might be.[embed: 14-day average]
“At the moment we’re still trying to work out how we’re going to make that work for us because all the other teams are based in South Australia,” Ms Cother said.
“It would mean that, for a start, I guess until the borders open properly it would just mean that we would have to play all of our games over in South Australia and have no home games ourselves.”
Ms Cother said they were not sure if all of their players would be able to cross.
“At this stage we may have players that don’t have essential traveller numbers to get over the border as it is. And we do have some that are based closer to Goroke and that are out of that 40 kilometre zone as well,” she said.
But she hopes that the news gives the town a boost.
“It’s a step in the right direction, letting people over to play sport,” Ms Cother said.
“It’s been such a hole in our community this year, so hopefully we’ll do that in the next couple of days, talk to the league and talk to our players and see how everyone’s feeling.”
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