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    Mary-Anne Thomas.

‘Border brokers’ for communities

The entire September 15, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The State Government will deploy a team of ‘border brokers’ to support industries and businesses impacted by restrictions on Victoria’s borders with South Australia and New South Wales. 

The government has launched the concept based on awareness that communities split by interstate borders often operate as one and that industries and businesses on borders face unique challenges.

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Interstate travel issues involving border communities in Victoria’s far west and the southeast of South Australia surrounding different state restrictions have been pressing for several months. 

Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said ‘local challenges need local solutions’.

“That’s why we are establishing a team of locally based border brokers to work alongside Victoria’s Cross Border Commissioner Luke Wilson,” she said.

“The team will include eight ‘brokers’ who will work in government administration and development of Grampians, Loddon Mallee, Hume, Gippsland and Barwon South West regions, all affected by interstate border restrictions.”

Ms Thomas said Regional Development Victoria and Agriculture Victoria  – which already had strong mechanisms in place to support communities and industry – would lead the brokers.

“This team will ensure locals have a key contact on the ground to advocate on their behalf and will support businesses and industry groups to address issues and challenges,” she said.
“Border brokers will work across state and local governments and with chambers of commerce, key agricultural stakeholders, industry, regional tourism boards and community groups to identify and triage issues.

“The team will work on solutions to challenges such as access to workforce and help to ensure supply of necessary goods and services to local businesses.

“The brokers will also be able to connect locals with the comprehensive support that has been provided by the Victorian government throughout the pandemic.

“In addition, brokers will be included in the membership of a Border Representatives Reference Group the government established last month.

“The restrictions in place along our border are necessary to keep border communities safe, but we understand that communities need support. 

“The border brokers will be a new point of contact on the ground to help our communities impacted by challenges from the pandemic. 

“They will be a crucial step in ensuring our border communities continue to have a strong voice as we recover from the global pandemic.”