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Cross Border Commissioner newsletter - edition 1


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Welcome to the first edition of the Cross Border Bulletin

Luke Wison, Victoria's Cross Border CommissionerPortland to Mallacoota, Corryong to Mildura, Victoria has more than 2500km of land and river borders with South Australia and New South Wales.

Those of us living and working along these borders have the privilege of experiencing some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery, most productive landscapes, and some of our most inspiring communities – our border communities, big and small.

We also experience the many anomalies of living and working around borders. Different state practices, rules and regulations can be annoying, costly, and some feel just a little bit unfair.

Recognising this, the State Government of Victoria created the Cross Border Commissioner role to work with border communities and government agencies to identify and address these anomalies. I am your Cross Border Commissioner.

In my first six months as Commissioner, I have travelled our border areas – from Glenelg and West Wimmera Shires, up to Mildura, along the Murray and into East Gippsland.

I have had the pleasure of meeting border residents, businesses, Regional Partnerships, Local, State and Commonwealth Government leaders and staff, and many border MPs and Councillors.

Border businesses and residents have raised well over 130 border issues so far. From August the full list of issues raised by you will be available on our website.

This Cross Border Bulletin will be released each quarter to share updates on my activities with border communities, highlight some of the key border issues being raised, invite input on particular issues, and report on changes as they occur.

I look forward to working together to identify and grasp cross-border opportunities that can improve our border communities and strengthen our border businesses.

Luke Wilson
Cross Border Commissioner

Cross Border Adviser

After helping with the setup of this office, Tim Petheram has taken up a new role in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Alicia Keogh has now joined me as Victoria’s Cross Border Adviser.

Border visits

Keep an eye on our website for information about upcoming visits across the State. If you’d like to meet with us, get in touch and we can schedule a time. We’re also happy to attend meetings or events of business or community groups.

Don’t put up with it

If you know of a border anomaly, raise it with us. No matter how big or small, or even if you think others have raised it already.

Ideas that seem fine in Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide don’t always make sense at the border. You can get in touch with us via:

Post: PO Box 1332, Wodonga VIC 3689
Phone: 0436 642 436

What is a cross border issue?

Issues are usually one of three types:

  • Some are about different rules – like the varying rules for L and P plate drivers, or multiple licensing for tradespeople. Fixing these usually means changing rules.
  • Others are the result of different policies and practices – state A does it this way, state B does it that way. Both might be reasonable, but when you live in the middle of the two, it can get messy.
  • The third type are the opportunities for joint effort. For example: “Wouldn’t it be better if we could market our tourism offerings together rather than separately?” It’s not about rules, it’s about working together.

What happens with an issue after it has been raised?

Every border issue or opportunity raised I report to Minister for Regional Development, The Hon Jaclyn Symes MP, relevant Victorian and interstate government departments or agencies and to relevant Ministers.

We play an active role in helping departments and agencies understand the issue and how it is impacting on border residents and businesses, and in looking for solutions.

Common issues

Rules for L and P Plate drivers

Learning to drive is hard enough, yet our young drivers are also faced with a complicated and difficult to comprehend system of different rules and conditions, which change when they drive across a border.

TAFE access

Both rules and practices can make it hard for a business to access TAFE training for their apprentices and trainees over the border – which is often where the most convenient, or even the only feasible, service is provided.

Responsible Service of Alcohol

Despite a national accreditation being introduced for the Responsible Service of Alcohol, there are rules and practices in each State that make it impractical to use the accreditation interstate.

Meeting with border residents in far east Gippsland to discuss a border road issue (Photo: Snowy River Mail)
Meeting with border residents in far east Gippsland to discuss a border road issue.
    Photo: Snowy River Mail

Working with New South Wales

The State Governments of both Victoria and New South Wales are developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), confirming the commitment of each to working together on priority border issues.

Usually signed by Premiers, an MOU will help Cross Border Commissioners pursue change.

The NSW Cross Border Commissioner is Mr James McTavish. James and I are in contact regularly as we refer matters to each other.

Submissions to Parliamentary inquiries

State and Commonwealth Parliaments conduct inquiries from time to time, providing the opportunity for public input. Some of these inquiries will touch on border issues. Current Victorian inquiries of interest include:

Feel free to follow these inquiries and take part if you wish by making a submission.

Further information is available by clicking on the links.

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