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Truck driver says line-up of drivers let through SA border without being checked for permits

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South Australia's strengthened border closure with Victoria has been questioned just hours after it came into effect with a truck driver claiming authorities waved through at least 80 trucks overnight without checking them.

South Australians can no longer return to their home state from Victoria unless they are essential travellers, with the new restrictions starting at one minute past midnight last night.

It's among a raft of new restrictions designed to prevent Melbourne's surging coronavirus crisis spreading west into South Australia.

However, truck driver Steve, who did not provide his surname, has cast doubt on how well authorities are cracking down at the border just hours after the restrictions came into effect.

He said he crossed the border on the Dukes Highway travelling into Victoria at about 10:00pm last night and there was a queue of semi-trailers about 2-3-kilometres long.

For the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic follow our live updates.

He said the change in rules meant on his return trip to enter back into SA at about 1:45am he was stuck in a queue behind semi-trailers for hours despite having pre-approval.

When finally reaching the front of the queue at about 3:00am, he said all the trucks in line were then waved through at once, without being checked for permits.

"Straight through … 80 trucks launched it straight away … I'm surprised there wasn't a fatal."

He said there was still a lot of confusion among truck drivers as to what they needed to do to get into South Australia.

 

SA Police today said due to last night's border changes, they decided to stop more truck drivers than usual to provide information about the new directions in place.

However, a larger number of trucks came through the border "than was anticipated" by police.

"Police therefore modified their processes to risk assess the trucks coming through to allow freight workers to pass through without unnecessary delay.

"SAPOL are satisfied that the trucks that were allowed to pass through were essential travellers and priority was given to processing other travellers coming into the state that may pose a risk to the South Australian community."

Police also reiterated that patrols on the border do not stop every heavy vehicle involved in freight transport due to the high volume crossing the border each day.

"Random and targeted inspections are done to ensure compliance with COVID-19 directions, so that freight movement is not unnecessarily inhibited and to avoid any risk to road users," police said.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said he had spoken to SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens about the issue this morning and defended their actions on the border.

"Last night there was a change in protocol at the border to inspect all of them, but when it turned out that this was creating unnecessary traffic hazards, they went back to the normal practice.

"There was a change last night for a few hours and that proved unsatisfactory from a traffic management perspective for holding up those essential workers."

Mr Marshall said essential travellers crossing the SA border need to make sure they are registered, may only be out in public when they are working and must isolate otherwise, and thirdly, need to be wearing a face masks when in public.

Source of this article

 

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