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The Warrnambool region company, who provides what is deemed an essential service, travels to South Australia daily and its owner, who didn't want to be named, said staff were turned away from a south-west testing site on Wednesday. He had been told the only place testing asymptomatic people was Colac, but he didn't want to send staff into a hot spot.
Allansford's Anthony Boyle, of Boyle's Livestock Transport, said precautionary tests were not covered by Medicare and if he had to get private testing it would cost him about $3000 a week to have staff tested - something that wasn't sustainable long term.
He said it would cost almost $150 for each of his staff to be test every seven days, and with no end in sight for the requirement the costs could add up quickly.
Mr Boyle said they could get testing done in SA for free but even that was an issue because it was only done during certain hours.
"We're playing a bit of a waiting game hoping things might improve," he said "It is very tricky. We're all trying to comply. I'm all for precautionary testing and doing the right thing.
"I spent the best part of yesterday trying to sort out what we can and can't do and we're still not sure."
Ms Britnell said the situation had caused "massive confusion".
"It was mayhem. I don't think I've ever had a busier day than yesterday," she said.
"It was just company after company after company contacting me."
Ms Britnell said that South Australian police were turning people away on Wednesday. "Trucks were lined up at the border for hours," she said.
"The directive then came through that the SA were allowed to let them through but they had to have a test."
Mrs Britnell said some truck drivers had SA pathology slips but were not able to cross into SA to use them. "It was just ridiculous," she said.
Her office was also told that there were testing sites operating on the border on Wednesday but they had run out of testing kits.
Ms Britnell said the directive for freight workers to be tested every seven days would not achieve anything because they continued to travel after they've had a test. "The testing makes no sense to me," she said.
She said the permits and safety plans actually do more for contact tracing.
Mrs Britnell said that if truck drivers were tested in Victoria they would then be required to self-isolate until results were back.
She attacked the Freight minister Melissa Horne saying that writing a letter to her SA and NSW counterparts on Wednesday was "too little too late", and that she'd had had weeks to work with the industry to address the challenges.
"It's panic on behalf of the states. The minister for freight has known all along that we've got to keep freight moving. We've got to be talking to our colleagues across the border," she said.
"Victoria have stuffed up and Victoria have made mistakes that have led to this. The reassurance that should have been coming through from the minister, we've heard nothing."
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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