Red tape roadblock

Tuesday December 14, 2021

Story by Lechelle Earl


Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell is calling on SA Health to establish an office in the Limestone Coast to assist residents with cross border travel assistance.

Mr Bell’s Mount Gambier Electorate Office has been inundated with residents seeking assistance with a raft of issues surrounding the new cross border travel regulations.

The Independent MP said while his office had been the first port of call for many residents looking to for information during the past 20 months, the situation had snowballed since borders had reopened on November 23.

“People need help and they’re coming to us in huge numbers because they’re not getting the assistance or information they need through official channels,” Mr Bell said simply.

“To navigate your way through the multiple portals, processes and apps required to apply for a travel permit, it’s incredibly complex and often downright confusing.”

Mr Bell said he had contacted SA Treasurer Rob Lucas to request additional resources to support the local community, however that request had been denied.

“My office is fully stretched helping people navigate the system on their mobile phones,” he said.

“People are coming to my office looking for that help and we need to ensure that we have enough resources to help.

“If our office and others are expected to carry the lion’s share of the State Government workload then we need to have the extra resources and staff to deal with it.

“Living close to a border is very different to living in the city of Adelaide.

“I consider the lack of support from the Marshall Liberal government an insult to our community, who need support to navigate the complex and confusing rules put in place by this government.”

Mr Bell said every time a direction changed or a new rule came into effect, the phones started ringing.

“Every time something changes, which is often, people are looking for information but are frequently unable to find it or it’s very confusing,” he said.

“It’s not just border passes, but it’s linking vaccination certificates, downloading apps, linking MyGov accounts and advice for people travelling interstate.

“We are always happy to help but it’s showing no sign of slowing and we need some help and resources from SA Health.”

A SA Health spokesperson said currently, anyone who may need assistance to complete an EntryCheck SA application online is encouraged to reach out to a family member or friend for help.

“Alternatively, they can call the SA COVID-19 Information Line available on 1800 253 787 between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week and can help guide through completing the application process over the phone,” the spokesperson said.

“We are looking into other options for EntryCheck SA applications to support people who do not have access to, or are not comfortable using, the internet.”