Border checkpoints here until at least August, police boss says

NSW police chief says Victorian border restrictions will exist for a minimum of six weeks

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LINE UP PLEASE: Cars proceed through Albury's Wodonga Place check point on Thursday afternoon. Picture: MARK JESSER

LINE UP PLEASE: Cars proceed through Albury's Wodonga Place check point on Thursday afternoon. Picture: MARK JESSER

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NSW police commissioner says Victorian border restrictions will exist for a minimum of six weeks and warns pokies not a valid reason to go to Albury.

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BORDER residents are facing at least six weeks of check points along the Murray River, the NSW Police Commissioner has warned.

Mick Fuller travelled from Sydney to Albury on Thursday inspect the inspection hub at Wodonga Place.

"Obviously the big question is...'how long will this go on for?'," Mr Fuller said.

"I guess that's a question on not just our minds, but the local residents as well, but you'd have to say that the Victorian lockdown looks like it will be a minimum of six weeks so I imagine we would be staying the course for at least that."

Mr Fuller said it was unacceptable for Victorian border residents to cross into NSW for unnecessary shopping, entertainment or dining.

"If there is a shop on the Victorian side of the border where you can get your fruit and veg then please go there, but if you have a doctor on the other side or you work on the other side (it is okay)," he said.

"If people start crossing to play the poker machines or to visit friends or just to have a coffee because the coffee is better, I think there are some real consequences if we get this wrong for both of the communities."

Mr Fuller pointed to Melbourne virus cases leaping to justify the border sealing.

NO QUICK TURNAROUND: NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says border residents should expect at least six weeks of checks upon heading out of Victoria. Picture: MARK JESSER

NO QUICK TURNAROUND: NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says border residents should expect at least six weeks of checks upon heading out of Victoria. Picture: MARK JESSER

"Do we want the borders to be locked down like metropolitan Melbourne?" he asked.

"Five million are in lockdown and that's only two or three hours drive away.

"I know we stand here today, it's a beautiful day and we're walking around freely, but not too far from here there's five milllion people in lockdown and I think sometimes it doesn't feel real but it is."

The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday backed away from implementing a border bubble with more checkpoints further north of the Murray River.

She said that was not justifiable based on the level of coronavirus cases in Albury.

"At this point in time there is no evidence or no advice to me to suggest that we need to change anything we are doing regarding restrictions, although we are monitoring what happens in those border communities with the seeding," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We won't know for a few weeks until all that seeding, the potential seeding, has been what we call 'flushed out', so we won't know for a few weeks to make sure there hasn't been any level of that community transmission kind of bubbling away."

Mr Fuller said planning was being done for a potential second check point north of Albury as part of what he called a two-tiered operation.

"There is the border operation...that rolls out right across the length of the border, then we have highway patrol and other vehicles sweeping the 20, 30, 40 kilometre mark north of here looking for non-NSW plates, so there already is a two-tiered operation," he said.

"If there was a need for a hard bubble north of here then we would have to get additional resources to make that happen, but we would make it happen."

Mr Fuller said he had a hook-up with mayors along the Murray River on Wednesday evening and was taking their feedback about crossing closures.

Ms Berejiklian suggested there was greater complexity around the NSW-Victorian shutdown than other border closures undertaken in Australia and sympathised with those affected.

"Can I especially thank those border communities, it's easy to roll the words 'border community' off the tongue but for tens of thousands of residents it's been an enormous inconvenience," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I want to thank them for their understanding and patience and please know that the permit system we've established, all the resources we're putting there, are really to keep those communities intact.

"I haven't seen that happen before at any of the other border closures that have occurred around Australia.

"Our aim has been irrespective of whether they're Victorians or people from NSW we know they act as one community and our purpose has been to keep those communities intact....and to reduce the stress on those communities."

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