The company behind a new Wagga service station has said more than 40 new jobs cannot be created in the city with the current strict border rules in place.
Geelong-based chain APCO intends to open a new service station, cafe and IGA Xpress store on Hammond Avenue, near Big4 Holiday Park, by October.
APCO director Peter Anderson told The Daily Advertiser that he had been denied permits for key staff to drive directly to Wagga from their head office in regional Victoria.
Mr Anderson said his staff had been told they had to fly to Sydney first, an option he considered more dangerous as they would have to enter the Stage 4 restrictions zone around Melbourne.
"We'd have to go to Melbourne Airport, we'd have to then fly to Sydney, we'd then have to hire cars and drive out to Wagga," he said.
"I totally refuse and will not do that. That is putting my staff at more risk and that is against the advice of the Chief Medical Officers of all the states.
"It's stupidity. It's absolute stupidity."
Earlier this month, NSW announced a tightening of the border closure that required most people entering the state from Victoria to do so via flights to Sydney Airport.
The new rules were put in place in response to rising coronavirus infections and deaths in Victoria.
APCO staff from Victoria will not face 14 days in hotel quarantine due to a exemption for essential construction, but NSW Health has not moved its stance on the Sydney flights requirement.
Mr Anderson said his project manager and other staff needed to access the Sturt Highway site.
"We want to get our IT guys up there to install our new computer systems...we would normally engage staff in Wagga and bring them down to Geelong for training but we can't do that of course," he said.
"We made a contingency plan to train them at our Albury station but we can't even get into Albury.
"We're talking about dangerous goods and all sorts of training that has to get done."
Mr Anderson has contacted politicians on both sides of the border and on the federal and state level to plead his case for new permanent jobs in Riverina, which has seen employment rates drop during the pandemic.
Wagga NSW MP Joe McGirr said he had discussed the issue with NSW Health.
"I understand Mr Anderson is very frustrated with the situation and obviously this development in Wagga is great for the town," Dr McGirr said.
"The government's priority is making sure the border stays closed as much as possible to protect NSW from the virus getting in here from Victoria.
"I think that is correct. I think that is what the priority should be."
A NSW Health spokesperson said the government agency "does not comment on individual cases due to privacy".
"NSW Health has established a dedicated team who assess every request, but due to the recent changes to quarantine arrangements, NSW Health's Quarantine Exemptions Unit is experiencing a very high volume of applications," the spokesperson said.