National

Information gap as border closure looms

By AAP Newswire

Locals and mayors in Albury-Wodonga say they have been left in the dark after the move to close the NSW-Victoria border.

However, the closure was for the greater good, the mayors told reporters in Wodonga on Tuesday.

Albury mayor Kevin Mack said they were still yet to confirm a permit system for locals to travel across the river that divides the two towns.

"We have been bereft of information," he said.

Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie said fear and anxiety had only been growing as midnight loomed.

"The last 24 hours have been pretty nerve-racking," she said.

Victoria and NSW have agreed to shut borders between the two states as the number of coronavirus cases grows in the south.

Exemptions for those wishing to cross the border from Victoria became available via the Service NSW website on Tuesday night.

The two mayors were a short walk from La Maison, a French cafe and restaurant that sits just on the Victorian side of the border.

Owner Wassim Saliba said he would shut his doors on Wednesday as he tried to figure out how the border closure would work.

"There hasn't been a lot of information given out," Mr Saliba told AAP.

He said the restaurant had only just reopened in June after being forced to close due to the pandemic.

"It is devastating," he said.

Local health officials said there were two confirmed cases in Albury, both from the same family.

Albury-Wodonga Health chief executive Michael Kalimnios urged locals to keep their regular medical appointments on either side of the border.

Pregnant women in Albury would be allowed to cross the border to access the region's maternity services based in Wodonga.

The Hume Highway was rampant with Victorian licence plates as people headed south to get home before the borders shut.

One of them was Melburnian Sue Corcoran, who was taking a break from driving home after visiting Canberra with her family.

She had sold her father's home in Eden after his health deteriorated due to the summer bushfires.

"Dad stayed down in Eden (over summer) then he got stuck in the fires," Dr Corcoran said.

She was helping her father settle into a nursing home in Canberra with her mum when she heard the borders were closing.

Dr Corcoran said the Eden home still needed to be cleaned out of her father's belongings before settlement, but with no certainty on when borders would reopen she wasn't sure when she'd be able to get back.