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'It's the talking point for many"

Last-minute border closures create
'utter confusion' for grey nomads

John Richmond

John Richmond: 'Utter confusion'

 Story-Photo: Dennis Amor
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THE travel plans for thousands of caravanners are in turmoil because of ever-changing last-minute border closures and restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Some travellers are pleading with state governments to give them more time to reach their home states before they are locked out.

"It's the talking point for many of us grey nomads," 72-year-old veteran traveller John Richmond, from Melbourne, told Caravanning News at a rest area on Queensland's Bruce Highway.

"There's utter confusion at the moment and it's putting unnecessary pressure on us."

Victoria's Shepparton MP Suzanna Sheed wants to see more done for stranded caravanners, pointing out: "They left to travel in their caravans when they were entitled to ... and now find themselves locked out of their own state.

"Many of these travellers are over the age of 60, were first in line to receive their vaccination and they can self-isolate at home.

"We are going to great efforts to bring people home from overseas and provide quarantine facilities for them. Surely, we can bring home our local residents from interstate and find a safe way to do so."

She was concerned that Victorians in northern NSW and Queensland who were granted exemptions to return to their home state were given a timeframe of only 24 hours.

"This is a mammoth task for two drivers, especially when they are elderly, let alone one driver, which is in many instances the case," she said.

"I would like to see this time extended to 36 hours to ensure road safety and the safe return of our residents."

Grey nomad Joseph Fletcher, who has spent the last 10 winters enjoying Queensland's winter sunshine, said he had spent hours with wife Barbara trying to map a quick route to Victoria.

"We are nearly 2000km from our home and to require us to be home in 24 hours is unreasonable and a near impossibility," the 78-year-old former engineer said.

"Thirty-six or even 48 hours would be better but even that would still be pushing it.

"We are not getting any younger and don't need this kind of worrying deadline.

"It would be a great a rush and could give rise to accidents. There would be no time to dilly-dally on the way, that's for sure."


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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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