Greater Hume Shire is pleading with the Victorian government not to be the next council area dumped from the border bubble.
Mayor Heather Wilton sympathised with Wagga, Lockhart, Murrumbidgee and Hay councils which were dropped from the bubble when Victorian emerged from its fifth lockdown yesterday.
Some of Greater Hume's major towns, Henty and Holbrook, are further away from the NSW-Victoria border than Jerilderie in Murrumbidgee Council area.
Greater Hume was left out of the initial border bubble created last year and had to wait almost two months to be included.
"I do feel for those other councils, but we've also got a lot of people who live in Henty and do a lot of business in Wagga and don't necessarily go to Albury," Cr Wilton said.
"Those who live in the bubble need to work and live as best they can in the bubble at present.
"It's not the time to be pushing the envelope.
"By the looks of thing if you've got a boundary with the Murray River you are probably in the loop.
"But if you don't, you're not and that is a worry."
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged more changes to the bubble were under consideration as his pleas for a ring of steel around Sydney continue to be ignored.
In other news
NSW announced a four-week extension of its Sydney lockdown on Wednesday when another 177 daily cases emerged.
Murrumbidgee's exit from the bubble has had an immediate impact on a Coleambally sports precinct upgrade undertaken by Mulwala-based Kennedy Builders.
"My workers who live in Yarrawonga can't come home if they've been outside the bubble," Andrew Kennedy said.
"There is more chance of being struck with lightning at Coleambally than catching COVID."
Murrumbidgee Council's major population centre Jerilderie is in the Albury electorate and MP Justin Clancy has questioned the benefit of it being taken out of the bubble.
"Obviously there is a need to safeguard Victorian communities, but at the same time one would look at the risk posed by this Murrumbidgee community and you would to say it was negligible," he said.
"At the same time a whole lot of harm was being created to cross-border residents."
Murrumbidgee mayor Ruth McRae said impacts were far-reaching with ease of access to Victoria blocked.
"Business, health, education, service delivery. A lot of that comes out of the south," she said.
"What we require for crops and rural merchandising. A lot of suppliers come out of Victoria.
"I'm sure that the decisions that have been made are being made with the best intentions, but it is challenging and confusing. The messaging is complex.
"There was no engagement with local government at all."
She also confirmed the Coleambally project had a completion date of August 30.
"This has been an ongoing issue through the pandemic," she said.
(The contractors) have had levels of frustration at not being able to get there to move the job along.
"Hopefully exemptions or special permits can be put in place."
Cr Wilton hoped Mr Andrews' understanding about how border communities operated would prevent further councils such as Greater Hume being carved out
"(He) has acknowledged there is considerable interaction between both sides of the river and I'm hoping we can hang our hat on that," she said.
"We've got a lot of people who live in Greater Hume and work in Wodonga and vice-a-versa."
Meanwhile, member for Benambra and former policeman Bill Tilley said simplistic calls for a ring of steel was a show of ignorance.
"Just last month we had the Victorian Police Union Secretary admit that the ring of steel around Melbourne just didn't work," he said.
"It was resource intensive and logistically impossible.
"The hard-fought border bubble being maintained and getting vaccinated should be front of mind for border residents.
"Sydney is locked down for another four weeks, people shouldn't be leaving the city but if they did, where would you put the checkpoints on a city of more than five million and the hundreds of roads that lead into country NSW?"
-ADDITIONAL REPORTING ELLEN EBSARY
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