Border residents, businesses, local governments and other organisations bring many hundreds of border issues to the Cross Border Commissioner. Most issues are border anomalies arising from:
- practice differences - e.g. two states just doing things differently
- rule differences - e.g. different road rules, business licences
- opportunities for joint action that require coordination between two states - e.g. wouldn’t it be better if we could market our tourism offerings together rather than separately.
At a minimum, every border anomaly or opportunity raised is reported to the Minister for Regional Development, the The Hon. Gayle Tierney MLC, the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, Ms Michaela Settle MP, relevant Victorian and interstate government departments or agencies and their Ministers. The Cross Border Commissioner can and will pursue some individual issues. This can include bringing agency leaders out of Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney to hear directly from impacted residents and businesses – to demonstrate the case for change face to face.
However, the number of anomalies identified means that a more systemic approach is also required – this means helping agencies (government departments, regulators, service providers) to Ask the Border Question as part of their regular approach, to reduce ongoing anomalies and avoid the creation of new ones no matter the topic.
Since early 2019 Victoria’s Cross Border Commissioner has been working with Victoria’s agency staff to help them understand how to Ask the Border Question:
- knowing their cross-border counterparts
- testing ideas/proposals at the border beforehand
- learning how neighbouring jurisdictions work first
- adjusting rules or practice to avoid friction at the border
- providing reliable, joint information to make it easier to navigate border anomalies if they cannot be avoided.
You can also ask agencies to Ask the Border Question. And ask your representatives to ask for that too!
What is the Border Area?
There are various ways to define border areas, and the best way usually depends on the issue at hand. Some border issues are quite local to the border itself, and sometimes to specific localities. Other issues around our borders can impact residents, communities and businesses some significant distances from the border itself. For that reason we have not adopted a single definition. However, we do start our work on any issue with the default position below in mind. This uses Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, and is based on the depth of movements, flows and connections found in the likes of agriculture, sport and healthcare.