Border blues for council-run childcare on Victorian/South Australian border

Border blues for council-run childcare on Victorian/South Australian border

by Freya Lucas

July 28, 2021

A change to the South Australian/Victorian “border bubble”, introduced as both states continue to battle community outbreaks of COVID-19, may have a large impact on a small council-run service in the Victorian town of Casterton, 42 km from the South Australian border. 


The “border bubble” was reduced down from 70 km to 40 km on Monday in response to an active COVID-19 case in the South Australian community. Under the changes, cross-border community members cannot mix with those outside the region, presenting a challenge for three staff from the Kathleen Millikan Centre who live in South Australia. 


The staff members live in the South Australian town of Mt Gambier, and under the changes, they will lose their cross-border community member status if they have been ‘associating’ with people from outside the Victorian corridor in the past 14 days, including children or staff.


Further complicating matters, the newly drawn boundaries for the bubble run through the town of Casterton itself, dividing many in the community, something that Glenelg Shire Council CEO Greg Burgoyne said was “untenable”. 


“The key issue here is for South Australians to come in and maintain the bubble status,” he told the ABC.


“They can’t mingle with or interact with people outside the bubble, and that’s completely impractical for a blended community like Casterton whereby people move inside and outside of that 40-km bubble to do their day-to-day business.”


Mr Burgoyne said there was “a very good chance” that the facility would need to close, or come to some other arrangement with the three staff from the service who are currently unable to come to work. 


“We can’t continue without breaching the law,” he explained. 


To read the original coverage of this story please see here