Nelson couple ‘left stranded’ over cross-border measures

Dawn And Stephen Sylvester  TBW Newsgroup
LEFT IN THE DARK: Dawn and Stephen Sylvester are grateful to still be able to complete their work driving school buses, but the pair are at a loss to know how they will access food and medical supplies under the new direction. Picture: TODD LEWIS

Dawn And Stephen Sylvester TBW Newsgroup
LEFT IN THE DARK: Dawn and Stephen Sylvester are grateful to still be able to complete their work driving school buses, but the pair are at a loss to know how they will access food and medical supplies under the new direction. Picture: TODD LEWIS

A NELSON couple is calling for common-sense from the State Government after being left “virtually stranded” in the small coastal town following new restrictions.

Stephen and Dawn Sylvester both drive school buses, transporting students from both Victoria and South Australia to Allendale East Area School.

With new restrictions on cross-border community members coming into effect this Friday the pair were forced to seek approval as essential travellers to continue to operate in South Australia.

While their requests were granted, the new approval conditions left them facing another dilemma.

The Sylvesters are unable to complete any duties in South Australia other than the designated essential activity and upon completion they must isolate at their home address in Nelson.

Once back in Nelson, the pair are restricted to travel no further than a 40km radius in Victoria.

“We are allowed to go from home to pick the children up and drop them off at school and then isolate during the day back home,”
Mr Sylvester said.

“The problem is we have a 40km radius in Victoria, so we cannot go to Portland, we cannot go to Hamilton and we cannot go to Casterton because they all fall outside the range.”

Now cut-off from accessing services in Mount Gambier under the new direction, the Sylvesters have been left with no means to purchase food or medical supplies.

“Are they going to have helicopters to bring everything in and drop it off to us?” he said.

“How are we going to eat and how we are going to access our medical supplies, I just ask Premier Steven Marshall, how are we going to survive?”

However, he stressed the point that even if they were given approval to travel to Portland it was not their desire.

“That’s where the virus is, so it does not make sense for us to go to Portland to do our shopping and then bring it back into South Australia because we will get crucified,” he said.

“Surely they can just allow us to come into Mount Gambier and do a bit of shopping and get some medical supplies and then head home.”

Highlighting the irony in political commentary on the “stupidity” of panic-buying at the start of the pandemic, Ms Sylvester said it was starting to look like their only option.

“They said we should not be panic-buying, but maybe we should be?” she said.

“Maybe we should be going to buy six weeks of food and supplies now, but even if we do, you cannot keep fruit and vegetables fresh for that long anyway.”

Conceding the new direction was distressing, Mr Sylvester said they were at a loss to know how they will get by.

“I just do not understand how they expect us to live down there,” he said.

“We are just looking for someone to have a little bit of nouse and a little bit of common-sense and say ‘you have got your passes, you can do your shopping and take it home’.”

He also slammed the double-standards of the State Government which intends to allow 300 students back into the South Australia later this week.

“They are going to let all these students back in, but they are not going to let the poor old people in Victoria to jump across the border to do their shopping,” he said.

“It is very frustrating.”