The owner of Wagga's newest service station has claimed the NSW government's border permits system has caused the city to miss out on lower fuel prices and new jobs.
Geelong-based chain APCO intends to open a new service station, cafe and IGA Xpress store near Big4 Holiday Park, but has been knocked back for permits for specialty staff to cross the NSW/Victorian border by road.
APCO director Peter Anderson told The Daily Advertiser that Wagga was missing out on "more competition" for fuel prices and "40 new jobs" in the middle of a recession while his IT and training staff were unable to access the Sturt Highway site.
"We organised accommodation, we spoke to the hotel, they said 'you can't use the restaurant or facilities, just stay in the hotel when you are not working'," Mr Anderson said.
"We going to travel from the hotel to the service station, we were going to get room service or Uber Eats or something like that, we were going to minimise contact with anybody.
"We had a travel plan to come up with where we were going to refuel and have rest breaks, we did everything ... we were told the workers were non-essential."
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Meanwhile, Wagga has been added to a border zone that will allow agriculture workers to travel by road from Victoria up to 100 kilometres into NSW.
Mr Anderson said the border permit system was also inconsistent in that he could drive to Wagga himself as a commercial truck operator.
A spokesperson for NSW Health said the organisation "does not comment on individual cases due to privacy"
"The border restrictions with Victoria are a necessary measure to protect the health and wellbeing of citizens due to the current risks of COVID-19 transmission," the spokesperson said.
"NSW Health recognises that these restrictions can be challenging and is continually monitoring the situation and adjusting our response accordingly."