Cross-border COVID shot requirement overturned

DIRECTION REVERSED: A direction requiring cross-border community members present evidence of at least one Covid vaccination as of September 24 has been axed.

By Raquel Mustillo

A SOUTH Australian Police direction mandating at least one COVID vaccination for cross-border community members has been axed, but authorities have not ruled out compulsory vaccinations for border communities in the future.

Last week, a direction was issued which included all essential travellers aged over 18 arriving from Victoria, NSW and ACT must produce evidence of having received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine in order to be permitted to enter South Australia from September 24.

The directive said individuals who were unable to produce evidence could only enter South Australia from an exemption from the state’s Health Department.

SA Police confirmed all travellers – including cross-border community members – would be required to have at least one vaccination but said the requirement will be removed.

“The State Coordinator [Grant Stevens] advises the associated direction will be amended shortly removing the requirement for residents living in the South Australia/Victoria cross-border corridor to be vaccinated by this date,” a police spokesperson said.

“However, future changes may require cross border community members and permitted arrivals to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before arriving in South Australia.”

The spokesperson said the updated direction “should be published shortly”, but did not respond to questions about what prompted the reversal.

Member for MacKillop Nick McBride, who last week crossed the floor to vote down extending the emergency powers of Comm Stevens until after the 2022 election, said he was unaware of the compulsory vaccination measures until it was released by SAPOL.

Mr McBride said while he had not been personally informed of the changes, Comm Stevens told ABC Radio that cross-border community members would be exempt from the direction.

He said that the direction and subsequent reversal appeared to be contradictory and cross-border community members required clarity.

“The media releases over the weekend said that was the case and then the Police Commissioner said on the radio that the cross-border community won’t be captured by those rules,” Mr McBride said.

“I didn’t see anywhere where they made the cross-border community exempt, but I didn’t see either where they said it would capture the cross-border community.

“They should be doing it better and it’s another reason why we should be reviewing it on the first of December.”