Locals on the Victoria-NSW border have lashed out at the online application for border crossing permits after the site crashed less than an hour after its launch, while lengthy queues have already begun to build in key cross-border communities.
Frustrated residents in Wodonga, Mildura and Echuca were angry on Tuesday as they waited until the evening for the ability to apply for permits to allow them to cross the border which closed at 12.01am on Wednesday.
When the Service NSW site finally launched its application page, it crashed within an hour to the dismay of residents needing passes for work, medical needs and other necessities.
— Kate (@Kate_4329) July 7, 2020
— Maddeson Heron (@maddekatie) July 7, 2020
“Absolute joke,” one person declared on Twitter.
“Pretty piss poor,” another said.
The system appeared to be back up and running again before midnight, when the Victoria-NSW border officially shut.
A Service NSW spokesperson said the permit application system was experiencing high levels of demand.
"We are aware that some people have experienced delays in securing a permit and we apologise for the delay," the spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday night.
"In the interim, travellers will be able to demonstrate their eligibility to cross the border to police by carrying relevant documentation based on a category of exemption."
Queues build on first morning of closure
As rush hour neared on Wednesday morning, queues began to develop in several cross-border communities.
Albury Mayor Kevin Mack told 2GB radio on Wednesday morning there was a 40 minute queue cross the border Wodonga.
Video from the ABC and Sunrise showed cars queuing at police checkpoints.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys admitted on Wednesday morning the “huge operation” across the border “will be difficult”.
“The message is clear over the next 72 hours, if you don't need to cross the border you don't need to cross the border you should stay-at-home,” he told Channel Nine’s Today show.
“You know, there will be some disruption. There's absolutely no doubt about that. We just ask people to be patient, to realise that this is about the safety of communities, particularly those border communities.”
Victoria and NSW agreed to shut the borders between the two states as the number of coronavirus cases grows in the south.
Permits are being issued for people who need to travel interstate for work or health care.
Another 191 virus cases were confirmed in Victoria on Tuesday, lifting the state's active cases to 772, an increase of 710 in four weeks.
There are 1194 active cases in Australia.
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