A company that transports horses both ways by road between Melbourne and Sydney says it is “up in the air” as to what the Victoria-NSW border closure means for horse travel between those states.
Xavier Franklin from Platinum Horse Transport is hoping racing officials can negotiate a government exemption for horse travel between Victoria and NSW under strict protocols, similar to those which are currently in operation at South Australian and Queensland borders.
Horse travel to and from both South Australia and Queensland has been possible under strict coronavirus protocols and as long as it is only the staff from the transport company who travel with the horses.
Franklin hopes this will be the situation with the Victoria-NSW border closure but as of Tuesday morning he said his business and the travel of horses between the states was in limbo awaiting further news.
“If they align the same sort of protocols (as South Australia and Queensland) I would assume we could essentially just fill out some paperwork, get permission for our staff to travel and their return date and we should be OK – but until that actually takes place we are up in the air with things at the minute,” Franklin told radio RSN.
“It’s a bit unclear and unsure from the Victoria-NSW point of view – yesterday afternoon there wasn’t an exact process in place as to my knowledge.
“We are continuing to investigate the ramifications of the closure.
“Our belief at this stage is that as a transport company we will be able to apply for the exemption to continue business trading across the border – which is the case for the states of South Australia and Queensland during this time.
“We await the clarification of what is required for the permit and we are hopeful we can continue interstate horse travel.”
Franklin said there has been a “mad rush” of horse travel on Monday between the two states impacted by the new border closure.
There were more horses ready to travel in between Victoria and NSW but transport companies were awaiting clarification from racing and government bodies.
“We completed a couple of loads last night – there was a bit of a mad rush yesterday with the uncertainty but we do have loads ready to go tonight,” he said.
“We will await further developments this afternoon and hopefully with the permit situation we can continue working.
“It’s just been our staff that have been travelling, traditionally (stable) staff usually travel with the horses if they are racing interstate but that hasn’t been the case and it’s just been our staff attending to horses.
“Obviously we are adhering to strict protocols with our staff along the same lines as the sterilisation of our trucks … because our trucks travel very frequently over the border we don’t want to have issues where we have accidentally transmitted the virus.
“We have got strict sterilisation protocols in place in both states to ensure that doesn’t occur.”
Read all News by Ben Dorries