Border closure: Compassionate permit changes now only include imminent death, funeral

The two reasons you'll be granted a compassionate permit into NSW

Strict new rules only allow people to cross into NSW on compassionate grounds if their immediate family member is within days of death or to attend their funeral.

And if approved, which is described on the Service NSW website as "only in extenuating circumstances", that person is not allowed to attend the wake or any family gatherings afterwards.

The overhaul of the permit system came into effect on Friday after the late-night decision to change the public health order to further stem the spread of COVID-19 into NSW.

There is concern within the community that the timeframe and amount of paperwork needed to be approved, loved ones will miss saying goodbye.

Applications take approximately seven days to process.

Service NSW wouldn't confirm to The Border Mail how many compassionate permits had been granted in the past month, but said applications were assessed on a "case-by-case basis".

A Department of Customer Service spokesperson said due to this, it is not possible to give a timeframe for applications to be assessed and permits issued.

"If approved, the permit holder is given an exemption code to use in the application process," they said.

"Once they receive their permit, the conditions will be clearly marked. These conditions are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19."The Service NSW website says "requests to attend weddings, religious ceremonies or family functions will not be considered".

Applications will also only be granted if the funeral or dying loved one is "a first degree relative" or "is of significance importance to you".

While Member for Albury Justin Clancy wouldn't say whether the compassionate grounds permit should be expanded, he did say there had been a huge "social and human cost" to the border closure.

"We have had a number of calls to try and assist with compassionate permits to cross the border," he said.

"We just had a meeting with the small business minister and senior bureaucrats from NSW Health and my message to them is that this isn't only having a financial impact but also a social and human cost as well.

"Things that I am conscious of are separated families and arrangements to attend funerals.

"It is a big challenge for our community and they keep doing a wonderful job in testing times but we are still fighting for more relief for our community.

"Compassionate grounds and permits for employment are the big things which impact our people."

The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet was approached for comment on the new rules.

This story The two reasons you'll be granted a compassionate permit into NSW first appeared on The Border Mail.