NSW‘s three-month border checkpoint operation with Victoria has come to an end, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian championing her state as the only Australian territory “which welcomes everyone”.
The border patrol at Albury ended at midnight Sunday, Ms Berejiklian confirmed.
“All Australians are welcomed in NSW, all New Zealanders are welcome to NSW without quarantine,” she told reporters from nearby the checkpoint on Sunday.
The border patrol, staffed by police and military, was established in response to Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID-19 but as the southern state overcomes the virus, the border will operate freely.
Ms Berejiklian admitted the border operation had been expensive.
“It has cost several millions of dollars if you add up all the costs but you can’t put a price on community safety,” she said.
More than five million cars and 500,000 heavy vehicles passed through the checkpoint during its operation.
NSW reported 11 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, all of them already in quarantine. There were no cases of community transmission of the virus for a 15th consecutive day.
Ms Berejiklian again pressured other states to open borders and do more to help overcome the impacts of coronavirus.
“Every week NSW welcomes back more Australians than all the other states combined,” she said.
“Victoria has been out of action. The other states simply aren’t doing their fair share.”
The premier added that she would not have shut down her state based on the information which SA used to close its borders last week.
Asked if Queensland should open its border to NSW given the number of days without a case of local COVID transmission, Ms Berejiklian said she remained miffed by the sunshine state’s logic.
“I don’t understand the decision-making up there. They are making things up as they go.”
Restrictions on public gatherings remain in place across NSW.
More than 150 people were sprung partying overnight in an abandoned military bunker on Sydney’s coastal headland in breach of NSW coronavirus rules.
The group scattered and tried to flee after police arrived at the loud party in Malabar Headland National Park at 12.30am on Sunday.
The shindig’s alleged organisers – four men ranging in age from 25 to 34 – will be slapped with $1000 fines for failing to comply with COVID-19 directions.
Under current restrictions, no more than 30 people can gather outside in a public place which includes parks, reserves, beaches, public gardens and spaces.