COVID-19 and the New South Wales border closure

COVID-19 and the New South Wales border closure

This page has information for people living in Victoria.

If you live in New South Wales (NSW) go to COVID-19 NSW and Victoria border closure – what do I need to know? on the Legal Aid NSW website. 

What you need to know

The NSW border is closed to most people entering from Victoria. Special rules apply to people living in the border region within around 50 km on either side. If you need to travel from Victoria to NSW there are five things you need to know:

  • people living in Victoria must not travel to NSW without a permit
  • there are strong penalties for crossing into NSW without a permit. You may be fined up to $11,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both
  • you can apply for a permit by contacting Services NSW. Eligibility rules apply
  • you must carry your permit and photographic ID or documents that identify you at all times in NSW and produce these if an enforcement officer asks you to
  • if you have parenting orders that require travel to NSW you should apply for a permit before travelling.

Some permits will only allow you to enter NSW by flying into Sydney Airport. Check the NSW government’s COVID-19 web page for more information about border entry rules and where you may enter.

Check your permit carefully to make sure you understand the rules you must follow in NSW. Your permit will say if you must:

  • go into mandatory (compulsory) hotel quarantine for 14 days (you will be have to pay for this unless you get an exemption)
  • self-isolate for 14 days
  • get tested for COVID-19
  • follow the rules in a COVID-19 safety plan
  • follow any other conditions (rules).

I live close to the border. How does the NSW border closure affect me?

From Thursday 17 September there are changes to rules for border region residents who live within around 50 km on either side of the border. Border region residents are now able to travel within the border region for any reason with a current permit. You can check an address on the Services NSW website to see if it is in the border region.

If you are a border region resident living in Victoria:

If you have a border region resident permit that was current at 12.01 am on Thursday 17 September it will:

  • be considered a new border region resident permit, with the new conditions
  • continue to be valid until the permit’s date of expiry.

Do not cross the border until you have a permit or permission from NSW police and make sure you carry your permit each time you cross into NSW. You should carry supporting evidence and photographic ID or other documents that identify you.

What has changed now that the NSW border is closed?

The NSW government has made orders (rules) to try to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. These new rules mean people living in Victoria must not travel to NSW without a permit.

You will not be eligible for a permit if you are prevented from travelling due to Victoria’s current public health rules.

The NSW border is being policed by road, rail, air and water. There are strong penalties for crossing into NSW without a permit. You may be fined up to $11,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both. Extra fines for each day you are in NSW, or for other breaches of public health rules, may also apply.

These new rules are temporary but there is currently no date when they will end. These rules do not apply to emergency or law enforcement workers or to someone entering NSW to avoid injury or escape a risk of harm.

How do I apply for a permit to travel to NSW?

You can apply for a permit by contacting Service NSW. Apply online or call 13 77 88 24.

I have parenting orders that require travel across the border. What should I do?

If you have parenting orders that require travel to NSW you should apply for a permit from Service NSW before travelling. You will also need to complete a COVID-19 safety plan for child access or care arrangements available on the NSW government website.

If you are refused a permit, are in quarantine or you are self-isolating with children, make sure the other parent can have contact another way. For example, children could communicate with them by phone or video conferencing. Try to work out how the other parent can have make-up time when the border opens.

If you fail to follow parenting orders and do not have a reasonable excuse, the other parent can take you to court. A reasonable excuse could include a health professional directing you and the children to go into quarantine, or travel being banned. The court can make orders, such as make-up time, and give penalties. The type of penalty will depend on how serious it is.

If you are refused a permit, are prevented from travelling due to Victoria’s current public health rules, or are worried about travelling, get legal help.

See COVID-19 and parenting issues.

I am a Victorian resident travelling in NSW. Can I return home?

Yes, you can return home to Victoria. You do not need a permit to cross the border into Victoria. You must follow the public health rules in Victoria when you return home.

I am a NSW resident travelling in Victoria. Can I return home?

If you are a NSW resident, you will be able to return home but you must follow the conditions (rules) in your permit. There are strong penalties for failing to do this. Your permit will say if you must:

  • go into mandatory (compulsory) hotel quarantine for 14 days (you will be have to pay for this unless you get an exemption)
  • self-isolate for 14 days
  • get tested for COVID-19
  • follow the rules in a COVID-19 safety plan
  • follow any other conditions (rules).

See COVID-19 NSW and Victoria border closure – what do I need to know? produced by Legal Aid NSW.

What if I get a fine?

Fines are managed differently in each state, so your options and where you can get help will be different depending on whether you were fined in Victoria or NSW. If you are not sure check what the fine says.

If you get a fine in Victoria, see our COVID-19 and fines page for information about what to do and where to get help in Victoria.

In NSW police can give you an on-the-spot fine of $1000 if you do not follow public health orders (rules) and can fine you another $5,500 for each day that you do not follow the rules.

If you are charged, a court can fine you up to $11,000 or you could be jailed for six months. 

If you get a fine in NSW you have the option to:

  • pay the fine by the due date
  • agree to pay the fine but ask for more time to pay or ask to pay in instalments (part-payments)
  • Apply for a work and development order.

See COVID-19: public health orders – what do I need to know? produced by Legal Aid NSW for information about what to do and where to get help if you get a fine in NSW or call LawAccess on 1300 888 529.

What if I am stopped by police at the border?

Police are checking the border. If you are stopped at the border, you must show your permit and photographic ID or documents that identify you. You must also comply with all public health rules in Victoria. When you cross the border you must comply with all public health rules in NSW and any conditions (rules) listed on your permit. Police can fine or arrest you if you do not follow these rules.

You have a right to be treated fairly by police. If you believe you have not been treated fairly by a police officer, you may be able to make a complaint.

Get legal help before making a complaint.

 

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