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State border closures crippling border communities

Mark Fletcher
January 7th, 2021 · 44 Comments

A colleague shared this with me yesterday …



I call on all State and Federal Governments to have a nationwide plan of action to deal with small COVID outbreaks in the future other than to just close borders with neighbouring states, the biggest impact of closing borders is to once again negatively impact small regional communities who are bearing the brunt of these decisions unnecessarily.

Border communities have just become punching bags caught in the political crossfire of city centric politicians. Politicians on both sides of our river are making decisions with no consideration of the economic and social impact that this is having on our communities whilst hiding behind the rhetoric of protecting the majority, who happen to live in our larger cities.

Depression and anxiety are being exacerbated by the ongoing uncertainty of Border closures. Our families and communities are now experiencing extreme hardship and there is no end in sight. Our community has faced too many barriers over 38 weeks, and we are not getting the support or attention we need.

On the 31st December 2020 at 3pm, the Victorian Government announced a hard border closure to NSW. More than 3,000 tourists had to pack up and flee our small town to make it over the Border before midnight. Millions of dollars in revenue were lost from our community overnight and not least of all many families annual holiday was stripped from them with very little consideration of the impact this will have on these families who have had significant imposts placed on their freedoms for the majority of this 2020.

We are only 6 days into 2021 and already our business has suffered a 55% reduction in sales for the same period last year, whilst much resilience has been shown by many businesses in 2020 the most frustrating part of this latest situation is that it has been created by a poorly considered  government decision.

Local communities and businesses have been extremely resilient and creative to ensure their survival, it is now time for all levels of state and federal Governments to step up and show some real leadership on this matter, not just play popularity politics.


Category: Social responsibility

44 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carmen // Jan 7, 2021 at 6:52 AM

    Hi Mark, off topic as I am aware but I’m surprised that you have not posted regarding the current outage for many small businesses using tyro. These customers including myself have not been able to process a single eftpos transaction since 7pm Tuesday and this is still ongoing.
    As we move towards a cashless society with less customers using cash these days im sure you can sympathise.

    As tyro can be integrated with your POS System im sure you are well aware of the current outage.
    Perhaps the reason behind no post ????


  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Jan 7, 2021 at 6:57 AM

    Hi Carmen, please don’t jump at shadows. This blog is not a platform for communicating customer support matters connected with my or any newsagency software.

    What I know about the Tyro outage is what any Tyro user knows, from their public comms page:

    As with the recent Comm. Bank and NAB outages, any EFTPOS outage is disruptive.

    I am sure that the folks at Tyro don’t want this outage as much as you don’t want it. All of my businesses are as affected as yours.

    The Tower software integrates with all the banks, Tyro and a bunch of other payment options.


  • 3 Carmen // Jan 7, 2021 at 8:50 AM

    Hi Mark,

    I was not having a go, simply making a comment. You are very quick to jump when other institutions are suffering an outage and the impact it has on Small Business.

    Im sure if the tatts network was down for 2 days you would have something to say.


  • 4 Mark Fletcher // Jan 7, 2021 at 8:53 AM

    Carmen, I am not quick as you claim. There are many outages I have not commented on.

    I have separate channels through which I share information with the Tower customer community.


  • 5 Peter // Jan 7, 2021 at 11:38 AM

    I disagree with this post. You only have to look at the disaster and calamity engulfing the UK and the US to understand the seriousness of an unchecked and poorly managed response. This is bigger than business and money and getting it wrong will have a far worse long term financial impact. We need to leave the decision making to state and federal governments in consultation with medical experts. They are doing a good job in my opinion.


  • 6 Graeme Day // Jan 7, 2021 at 1:20 PM

    Peter, the points you make are valid for Endland especially London and USA
    Aust. is uniques as is N.Z. we are islands. There is no reason why we cannot control the influx of migrants fro O/seas especially Aus pats on return. isolation will do this. To support this the lkatest figures show none of the cases confirmed were from local spread They all came from O/seas England to be exact.
    bsuiness and everyday working lives cannot be postponed forever especially when most of the problems arising come from blatant individual disregard and mass revolt for example beaches and parties.
    we have done exceptionally well and all authority has been particular in explanation of care and results. Given this consideration should now be for the responsible, those that have “deferred payments” this situation is just that deferred it means it must be repaid.
    How? oe may ask can you catch up in retail with missed sales from yesterday, the the xtra amount you missed out on? Not likely rent deferal and Loan repayment deferal is at an all time high. ANZ and Landlords reporting supports this.
    YES, we need to be careful and we neeed to let others know they are not co operating in spirit for recovery.
    Ther are two pains here Health and economic Both go hand in hand – Drs. agree and charge accordingly.
    watching fireworks from inside the lounge room didn’t hurt for this year however it’s a waist if it didn’t help clear the virus for next year.
    Along with vaccine COVID our spirits should lift and when they do we still will have a mountain to climb, for many years.
    It’s best we start now with some strict guidelines-heavy penalties all easing as the disease dissipates.


  • 7 Peter // Jan 7, 2021 at 3:01 PM

    Graeme, I feel for all businesses affected, but this virus only needs a small opportunity to flourish. Once the COVID genie is out of the bottle and allowed to roam free in our travel obsessed world, the numbers grow exponentially. The sacrifices we have made to date have kept our nation relatively unscathed, with vaccines just around the corner we need to continue to err on the side of caution.


  • 8 Graeme Day // Jan 7, 2021 at 3:53 PM

    i agree with the caution however vaccine will again take its time to be effective.
    We have proved that we are cappable of handling the virus. It’s interesting that the recent fast spreading has not resulted in deaths. Thank goodness.
    Does this mean that the virus has weakened within areas where it can dissipate?
    in World history we have had worse viruses resulting in greater Deaths than this one and some of those virisuses are still beiing vaccininated on an annual base. even the ‘Flu shot is free every year -nonm conpulsory yet I still have one and sometimes it doesn’t work but I still like the insurance and safety associated with the shot.The biggest effect for humans is coping with the mental illness this virus is causing. The lack of freedom, the parent child syndrome of being “told” to do when we know it is our responsibility to act accoirdingly This causes Lack of self esteem for many and rebellion in others when careful reconstructuction of working together cuold get us back to work.
    work is a bsic necessity it is not a priviledge -this is an unfortunate fact and some even enjoy being creative or productive if you like.
    the disease needs to be controlled as you say however the best control is one’s own discipline the vaccine is an added element of support. Coota probably has plenty of “Grey nomads” wandering through, stopping eating shopping, surely they wear masks indoors and observe the rules. If not you have the responsibility to refuse service.
    I think we can work it through and in doing so it teaches our children that there are things responsible to do that we all have to consider from time to time.


  • 9 Peter // Jan 7, 2021 at 5:56 PM

    Graeme, in normal times “freedom” is at the top of everyone’s agenda, in a liberal democracy. A virus like COVID loves freedom and individuality. In times of pandemic, conformity and observing restrictions works heavily in your favour. Look at the countries that have snubbed their nose at this, the US, Brazil, Sweden, the UK and many others. They have paid a high price for their freedom and keeping businesses going at all costs. You’ve got a better chance of freedom and commerce if you aggressively restrict the virus’s movement from the start.


  • 10 Graeme Day // Jan 7, 2021 at 6:26 PM

    I have agreed with this just promote a different solution to the Border situation. I have lived in a Border Town Coolangatta – it’s Twin in NSW Tweed Heads. Many workers and businesses have co related situations even Schooling can be different.
    tough enough it was to co-ordinate Dyalight savings time schedules let alone road blocks and restrictions that seem to be showmanship rather than problem solving.
    Nobody is at least I am not comparing England-USA or Europe with the Asian Pacifice Australia and N.Z. keep the Northern Hemi out or at least quarantee – isolate them for the full fortnight.
    nothing hard about that- Then the Border nonesense would stop as there isn’t original cases locally reported ever since VIC cleaned up there State. All States have done very well taking repsonsibility when and where needed.
    Now it’s time to do that as a unified Nation.


  • 11 Steve // Jan 7, 2021 at 7:39 PM

    I absolutely agree with your colleague’s cry for help here Mark. On a recent trip to Merimbula I witnessed first hand the devastation the border shutdowns have had on that town. Hospitality businesses had been particularly hard hit and over half of the town’s cafes and restaurants had not survived. The remaining few were barely hanging on. Retailers and accommodation facilities were also hit hard. All this was before the latest border closure.

    Peter I think we all need to keep the current COVID outbreaks in perspective. NSW currently has only 1 COVID hospitalisation and Victoria a similar low number. Premiers in states hosting cricket matches and tennis tournaments in their densely populated capital cities need to show some backbone & strong leadership whilst towns like Merimbula are left to bleed to death. Until the coming vaccine is fully rolled out the border shutdown approach of 1919 is not the answer for this pandemic.


  • 12 Peter // Jan 7, 2021 at 7:48 PM

    Well, I feel better now Doctor Mark, Doctor Graeme and Doctor Steve have clarified the risks for me. It’s very reassuring these learned gentleman have put forward their expertise. Donald Trump would be proud of you guys. You’ll get the economy going and make Australia great again.


  • 13 Graeme DaY // Jan 7, 2021 at 10:46 PM

    I didn’t know it wasn’t great still is and has the spirit to keep going. Peter we all have the same goal just different opinions on the pathway.
    Don’t take offense it’s not personal


  • 14 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 8:36 AM

    Graeme, if 2020 has told as anything, it’s that we should challenge and/or ignore the opinions of people who are speaking well outside their area of expertise.


  • 15 Mark Fletcher // Jan 8, 2021 at 8:39 AM

    Your Doctor Mark label Peter is offensive and baseless. I have offered no commentary on this topic other than to share hat a colleague newsagent wrote and to so do here as an opportunity for discussion.


  • 16 Graeme Day // Jan 8, 2021 at 9:12 AM

    Peter, I agree with post 14 and in particualr Mark’s post 15
    Therefore if you read page 31in today’s Finacial Review Reply, there is an article written by Karry Lalawista. entitled *Talking Point
    Mark has made this point in his post and emphasised this in post 15. It is a “talking point”

    I suggest you read this article written by an expert who has access to information you and I do not have. It well illustrates the vaccine whilst absolutely crucial is not the only saviour to the problem COVID 10 there is the ill effect and/or illness caused by the seemingly expert and well intended handling of this virus. Mainly Lockdown and separation-isolation-mask wearing all maybe seem to be necessary however they do present major problems for all ages in society.
    Isolation in itself,lonliness actually weakens the immune system and social isolation increases the risk of premature death across gender and race.
    This is an established fact and it is also something that has to be considered in within the “Bundle” of care in handling this plague.
    Financiial responsibility and self esteem as well as social intercourse are an important framework in living -especially regard to mental well being. Paying ones debts, achieving one’s goals, supporting one another are a part of this process nothing excuse the word can be done in “isolation” with this problem
    This is my view, many nay agree with it, many may not, it is thanks to Mark’s post that I have had the opportunity to express it.


  • 17 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 9:16 AM

    Mark uses the word offensive in a reply. Well, there’s a surprise(not) and so representative of today’s discourse. Your skin must be somewhere between crepe and tissue paper.


  • 18 Mark Fletcher // Jan 8, 2021 at 9:23 AM

    Peter – only because you made something personal up without foundation. That is a failure of your own doing. That you felt the need to make it up speaks volumes.


  • 19 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 9:32 AM

    Mark, if you’re going to post on issues with political and/or medical context, expect to be challenged or as you prefer “offended”.


  • 20 Mark Fletcher // Jan 8, 2021 at 9:44 AM

    Peter, I have no quarrel with being challenged. However, in this instance, you have challenged me for something I never said. Stop making stuff up.


  • 21 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 10:03 AM

    You regularly have a problem with being challenged Mark.


  • 22 Mark Fletcher // Jan 8, 2021 at 10:05 AM

    Okay, I see how it is Peter. You want the right to challenge someone for something they did not say, something they never said. Grow up.

    Oh, and if I did not want to be challenged, comments like yours would be blocked. Seriously, grow up.


  • 23 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 10:09 AM

    Predictable response Mark. “Grow up”, “offended”, “offensive”, “baseless”. Have a look in the mirror.


  • 24 Mark Fletcher // Jan 8, 2021 at 11:14 AM

    The fact is Peter you accused me of something I did not do, something for which you have no evidence. You attacked me for no reason whatsoever. My response to you is predictable based on your actions.

    The crazy thing is, back to your original post on this thread, where you stuck to the facts, I agree with you.


  • 25 Jeff // Jan 8, 2021 at 11:23 AM

    This have to be one of the most asinine comment threads I have ever read here. Peter is going off at Graeme and Mark for no reason. It is like he does not want debate from Graeme and like he attacks Mark because he can. It does nothing for his cause as how he has gone about it invites dismissal of his otherwise reasonable contributions. Peter I agree when Mark says grow up.


  • 26 Graeme Day // Jan 8, 2021 at 11:40 AM

    Jeff when
    When commentary is invited as with this post it can invite discussion on levels of agreement plus add ons and takeaways. This the ads and takeaways are the debateable points of disussion for this is the reason for this type of post.
    as in all debates if it gets personal as you illustrate it loses proper consideration and therefore further development is stunted.


  • 27 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 12:20 PM

    “Accuse” & “Attack”. Two other favourites when challenged. All I did was point out that people are posting and commenting on a medical emergency with no expertise in that field whatsoever. The steps being taken by state and federal governments, including border closures, are entirely appropriate and backed by medical experts.


  • 28 Mark Fletcher // Jan 8, 2021 at 1:06 PM

    Peter, I shared what a colleague newsagent provided. I offered no comment or commentary other than that. That, however, is enough for you to label me Doctor Mark. Had you taken a moment you would have seen I am supportive of measures state and federal governments have taken and that I have actively supported their informed moves ahead of demands from people not in authority and not in touch with the facts.


  • 29 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 2:03 PM

    Maybe your post heading should read “comment from a colleague” and not “state border closures crippling border communities”. Perhaps mention in the post that you don’t agree with the post in whole or part.It also appears under the “social responsibility” category. These all point to you agreeing with the post.


  • 30 Graeme Day // Jan 8, 2021 at 2:40 PM

    Your accusation included me. I offered te explanation that in isolation your expert medical recall advice is not solitary There is and are rub off effects with total lockdown- Read it in the F/R today I gave the reference.
    Others can quote experts as well your own view point was challenged yet you have no answer other than to ignore it.
    Accusing me Mark and Steve accusing the 3 of us as the Drs of expertise lumped in together without any sound proof is rediculous.
    read the commentary We have heard and I have discussed it here however it seems point scoring Mark has taken over the debate you so incorrectly claim as have the only righteous point of view
    Solitaire is it the only game in Town? or the only one you play?


  • 31 Peter (not him) // Jan 8, 2021 at 4:20 PM

    Don’t be a pedant Peter. The opening line sys it is from a colleague. It’s Friday, arvo. Have a beer and give up trying to beat Graeme, Mark and others into submission. Agree to disagree. I happen to agree with Graeme.


  • 32 Peter // Jan 8, 2021 at 4:37 PM

    Graeme, my only opinion is to defer to the experts. Whether they be medical experts, climate experts or any other experts in their field. People who are actually qualified to comment on these issues. We’ve had this discussion before and I know I won’t change your mind, so I’ll leave it at that.


  • 33 Graeme Day // Jan 8, 2021 at 7:35 PM

    I did that and gave you the reference of the expert in question and now you are now doing what you accuse others of doing Mark especially.
    Read the article and then comment The woman who wrote it is an expert in mental health.
    she has related this to COVID in a big picture situation of which you in your comments deny.
    open your mind and get some respect for you comments and stop denying your intellect.


  • 34 Peter // Jan 9, 2021 at 6:11 AM

    Graeme, COVID is a medical emergency. Australian state and federal governments have correctly consulted with medical experts to limit the spread of the virus, unlike many right wing governments around the world. Can you see the irony in quoting the Financial Review as your source of COVID information?


  • 35 Graeme Day // Jan 9, 2021 at 8:05 AM

    Peter all the experts have been quoted in various media.
    This expert in mental health exposed a different problem in that isolation and restrictions can cause issues with isolation- from young children-especially teenagers and the ederly especially with immune reduction. Broaden your mind -you may even relate to some of facts from the health Authorities Reports she quotes.
    I suggested you read it for debate but no -you above all others in this debate can ridicule any others thought as rebellious to your stance.
    You have in fact, by you own admission ,dismissed the thought of not reading it and gone on with opinion backed by what you have read and heard from similar sources -print, news and word of mouth.
    Where’s anybody’s proof? in sometyhing that has not occured in our lifetime –
    We live in a World of calculated risk-and change take your business (newsagency) it’s model has changed – many have changed with different experiments producing different results-some are indifferent in approach -some own their business outright and therefore kept plodding along, waiting, wishing, and hoping, others who did nothing-went into “locked down” mode when they should realised that because of their individual financial gearing that doing nothing everything stays the same or deteriates,because of the business’s lack of input with through competitpon -on line news and print-undeniable but ignored eventually after trying to sell for their recovery they closed (died). Others sold for much less because of personal reasons.
    Peter, No more than the irony of taking something for granted when mitigating circumstances suggest there is more to consider than what I am told. It dosen’t make me right except it would be foolish not to debate other effects and aspects of what I am told. The golden rule in debate is that all things should be considered. What’s this got ot do with health?
    Attitutide Peter. absolute attitude to business you may well have applied all or even some of the suggestions that have been made here. If you have then the health of your business would have improved.
    In te case of health you have chosen not to take a balanced attitude to your business versus health.
    You have refused to do this claiming absolute authority on knowledge.
    When something like this happens as in our business World we need to heed to travel carefully considering all the ramifications along the way of what extreme actions cause what side effects exist.

    Be careful of the pied piper for there are many other tunes in play that could allow us to surface from the one solution fits all -with many drowning financially unecessarily when they could swim through some very rough seas -difficult but a better alternative treated with respect and care through giudance and vision.
    Peter I have explained my point of view many times here and not once have you debated the pro’s and con’s so this will be my final post on what most would becoming bored with me included.
    You can have the final say.


  • 36 Peter // Jan 9, 2021 at 8:27 AM

    Graeme, you are conflicted with your role in business. Commerce has served you well and it helps colour all your thoughts and decision making. I’m not disputing there are mental health issues brought about by the pandemic. I just see the bigger picture. Those countries that have put public health first, before commerce, have benefited in terms of significantly lower case numbers and deaths and economically they have been stronger than those that have sought to keep business as usual. This is not disputable.


  • 37 Mark Richardson // Jan 9, 2021 at 9:44 AM

    Graeme telling Peter to broaden his mind and Mark demanding Peter “to grow up just grow up” really ?
    and it’s not even full moon !!

    Greame lets just stick to the fact as we know them

    Yes mental health is a concern with the uncertainty and lock downs we all faced and will continue to face at least for 2021

    This new strain of Covid is far more virulent

    The Federal Government is still allowing Australians to return from overseas although for now they have reduced the cap

    This disease can spread real quick and kill a lot of people , as seen in Victoria , if allowed to get out of control .

    We are not privy to all the information eg. Covid test results of our sewage water.

    The UK and US are a disaster 80,000 dead in the UK and they didn’t close their borders nor really made any significant attempt to lock the country down early on now it’s to late.

    We have seen what can happen when just 1 infected person goes out shopping ect or decides to continue to go to work.

    We all hate lock downs but if we get outbreaks how else can we control it ?

    Watching some of the State Premiers press conferences has at times been like watching the movie Dumb and Dumber even Morrison has filp flopped on decision making .

    The vaccine should be available here now, they say it has to be approved ?? and that “we will roll it out when we are ready” this is crazy stuff but we have no choice but to wait


  • 38 Peter // Jan 9, 2021 at 10:05 AM

    Thank you Mark Richardson. You put what I’ve been trying to say very succinctly. I apologise if my delivery “offends” at times, but I honestly can’t believe some of the views espoused on this blog. It makes me fearful that with the right conditions we’re not too far removed from the looney tunes in the US.


  • 39 Peter (not him) // Jan 9, 2021 at 11:00 AM

    It’s a fucking newsagency blog. Stop complaining if people don’t agree with your politics. Stop complaining about what this blog is because your own comments contribute to what it is.

    While you lot have been bitching about this heartfelt note Mark posted form a colleague, you have all ignored his post about back to school. What have you done this week to help encourage Australians to shop for back to school in their newsagents. Yes, I thought so.


  • 40 Graeme Day // Jan 9, 2021 at 12:30 PM

    Mark R.
    I asked him to broaden his mind. You have and decided to take the solitary view That’s up to you. I offered to think outside of that and you and Peter want to ridicule any others point of view.

    Peter was offensive to me even in his last post “you are conflicted (not maybe but ARE) in your role in busines. Commerce has served you well and it helps colour ALL your thoughts and decision making”

    How utterly presumptuos -How would you now my situtuation. Yes it’s served me well -in experience-I have covered most areas within this industry Frome owning, consulting the industry, Banks and Landlords as well as newagents then finally Brokering the sale when requested. Financially, is a matter of perspective but whatever it was it was because of my efforts alone and this comment from you is not one worthy to the discussion.

    Once more you’ve prsonalised your attck. as for “Richo” he has a Mark problem and is well known for critisising those that take sides with Mark.

    Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t however it is without malice I respect the post and answer it.
    there is difference of opinion with some topics from time to time but I can assure you no malice on from either person.


  • 41 Graeme Day // Jan 9, 2021 at 2:26 PM

    Apparantly there are Three (3) Peters Peter (not him) and one more Peter.
    The Peter I am replying to is unknown to me and not to be confused with the Peter I know and respect.
    I believe that unkown names that attack other people claiming they know their business should not be considered as accountable. The accuse incognito of name identification in full and get away with character assasination.
    I spoke to my Peter whom I know (he rang me) who does write regulary on this blog and he stated it’s not me. I didn’t think so but now he clarified the situation.
    If there is more tah one with the same name however from different sources -is it possible to have some form of separate I.D. ? so we know who is who is the zoo.
    I have no problem stating my true identity the Mark’s have none with theirs. So where ther ius dupkication is this possible to sort?


  • 42 Graeme Day // Jan 9, 2021 at 2:31 PM

    rushing again I meant “It’s not him”not tah it’s than one with the same name etc. and last sentence is duplication is this possible etc.
    Thanks and sorry for the rush however there needed to be some clarification as to the three Peters.


  • 43 Andrew T // Jan 10, 2021 at 5:47 PM

    ###CAVEAT WARNING No. 435.

    You are NOT to post anything on this site that offends, inflames, annoys or distresses Mark Fletcher. An innocuous comment from Carmen and others then results in a rebuff and denial of same from Ms Fletcher. Please keep your comments pro Fletcher as Graeme does. God bless.


  • 44 Graeme Day // Jan 10, 2021 at 11:13 PM

    Andrew T Thanks for your opinion.
    My comments are mine alone and if you happen to believe they pro Fletcher rather than two thinking people plus others agree then it’s you that has a problem.


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