Lockdown headache for border-town farmers

Queensland NSW district farmers disrupted by snap border closure

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Hamish Muir, Finlay Farming, Emu Plains, Texas, cannot access farming machinery stranded over the Queensland NSW boarder after lockdown began last Saturday.

Hamish Muir, Finlay Farming, Emu Plains, Texas, cannot access farming machinery stranded over the Queensland NSW boarder after lockdown began last Saturday.

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Some can't access machinery or even fuel deliveries.

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Queensland NSW border district mixed farmer Greg Finlay, Emu Plains, Texas, missed the message last Saturday when Queensland NSW border communities were given two hours notice before going into lockdown.

Not only did he miss the message but the family had little time time to retrieve their farming machinery they had shared with neighbours over the Dumaresq River which forms the Queensland NSW border.

As the southern COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow, the Palaszczuk government announced that from this Friday all people coming into Queensland with an exemption and essential service would be required to have their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

The Finlay family of Bruce and Margaret and their three sons, Greg, Dougal and John and their families farm 1420 hectares on the Dumaresq River south of Texas, where they grow hay, peanuts, cotton and run cattle.

"Our biggest issue is that we need to plant our lucerne and we didn't get enough notice to get our farming equipment that we had lent to our neighbours before they closed the border and our local gate access," Greg Finlay said.

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"Also we can not provide our neighbours with the seed we sell for their cover crops, and our hay sales have stopped."

They also can't access their machinery spare parts or have a fuel delivery that comes from Inverell, NSW.

"The biggest problem is accessing our staff as no one can travel to work due to the tight border restrictions so farm work is being held up," he said.

Mr Finlay is also the president of the Texas State School's P and C and said there were three teachers, one administration officer and 22 students on the NSW side that couldn't attend school.

He said the Texas community took the COVID situation very seriously and the local government leadership from Mayor Lawrence Springborg had been wonderful.

Legune Border cattle producer and businessman Jim Bloomfield had two hours to pack his swag and say goodbye to his wife and kids on Saturday afternoon when the snap border lockdown was announced to come into effect at 5pm.

"It has been an absolute shambles as I have cattle of both sides and a business in Killarney and also do a lot of work for the Tenterfield Shire," he said.

Mr Bloomfield's property Woodlands is on the border near Legune, with his house only 10 metres into NSW.

"I left home with my swag and was told at the border I needed to go to Warwick on Monday and have a COVID test and had to apply for the 'Z' pass which was issued on Wednesday which will allow me to travel home," Mr Bloomfield said.

"My children attend school in Killarney so obviously have not attended school and don't look like going any time soon.

"The politicians and bureaucrats making these decision have no idea how border communities operate, plus people should have freedom of choice regarding the vaccine."

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