SOUTH Australia’s border lock-out has forced drastic changes to Glenelg Shire Council’s essential operations, including the Kathleen Millikan Centre’s teaching arrangements in Casterton.
“KMC’s kindergarten teacher is based in South Australia and under the new border restrictions, has not been permitted an exemption,” Shire chief executive Greg Burgoyne said.
“Alternate dedicated staffing arrangements have been put in place to ensure these essential early learning programs can continue to be delivered to families.
“Understandably with recent events a number of community and staff members are being tested and following isolation requirements, which has provided a number of challenges in terms of delivering essential services.
“We have recently put measures in place to reduce the incidence of staff working across multiple centres, and have staff work at one site only. This is a measure that has also been introduced across the state’s public health system.
“Our objective is to keep all early learning centres safe and open, an objective which we will continue to focus on amidst the challenging circumstances.”
The KMC teacher affected by the border closure, Kirsty Harvey, who resides with her family in South Australia, making the journey to Casterton daily, vented her frustrations last week, prior to the hard lock-down.
“How to be treated as a criminal – become a cross border community member!” she said.
“Cross Border Community Members are not identified by name but by their Essential Traveller number ET 00012030 (just like prison inmate number 234).
“All I want to do is continue to go to work and do my job as a teacher!”
Mr Burgoyne said the impact of the border closure “for those people living in Nelson, Dartmoor, Strathdownie, Casterton and surrounding areas is profound”.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for many residents across the shire who now cannot work, visit loved ones, go to school, access their regular healthcare and support services, or even do their grocery shopping,” Mr Burgoyne said.
“In the cases where council cannot provide direct assistance, we have referred these to local health and emergency agencies, to respond to those immediate requests.
“We have also compiled a resource pack and contact list for our border communities which will be disseminated over the next week.”
He said council was meeting “weekly and in some cases daily” with the Cross-Border Commissioner, Luke Wilson and state representatives, to advocate for dozens of affected residents.
"We are working tirelessly to ensure the families and businesses are being heard at a state and national level,” he said.