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March 11, 2009

The Border Watch

Border lawbreakers unrepentant

Pull down the invisible curtain and wipe the geographical line between Victoria and South Australia off the map - different laws in the two states are just a pain in the neck, say Victorian border residents.

With anomalies including the 10 cent South Australian container deposit legislation, the difference in school holiday times, restrictions on taking fruit across the border and the use of concession cards - even watching DVDs - residents in towns like Dartmoor and Nelson are fed up.

They say they can live with the time difference, but argue they “don’t need different laws in different states.”

Sam LanyonDartmoor resident Sam Lanyon (pictured) was one of many Victorians who recently found a letter from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in his mailbox, warning him that he was breaking the law by delivering drink containers in South Australia for a 10 cents refund.

Offended at being accused of rorting the system, Mr Lanyon said he helped keep Dartmoor clean by ridding the town of drink containers and saving them from going into landfill.

“I get them out of the bins, from the streets and from the hotel, I sort them out and take them to Mount Gambier once a fortnight - along with bags of old clothes for Lifeline,” Mr Lanyon said.

“You’ve got to show your driver’s licence, so since I got the letter, I am taking it to my son in the Mount who takes it to the depot for me.

“When I get the refund, I go down the road and spend the money in the Mount.

“The whole thing is just ridiculous and what beats me is the blokes from the Mount who come here to pick up empty containers and take them home for a refund.”

Dartmoor residents Andrea Cameron, Maggie Kirkpatrick and Janet Kuhl agree.

They say they travel to Mount Gambier at least once a week to do their shopping - and buy their drinks.

“If we buy them in the Mount, it’s just fair we can take them back for a refund. They say beverage manufacturers that sell their products in South Australia provide funds to cover the refund, but where’s that 10 cents? We pay the same price for a can of Coke in Victoria than in South Australia,” they told The Border Watch.

“It was just as silly to ban the Underbelly series in Victoria - I’ve got the DVD set sitting in my cupboard anyway because my daughter in the Mount bought it for me,” one said.

The three women also vented their frustration over other regulations.

“We can’t use our seniors, health or pension cards in South Australia either, so we give up our children’s addresses in South Australia to get South Australian cards,” they said.

“Schools encourage our kids to take fruit to school, but we are not allowed to put fruit in their lunch boxes to school - the same fruit we bought in South Australia. But, a road sign is not gonna stop us. We send it with them to school anyway.”

And to top it all, the difference in times when school holidays start, is keeping families apart.

“Some families have kids in primary school in Dartmoor and high school kids in schools across the border. They have to arrange care for the kids at different times, they struggle to go away on holiday as a family because when the one lot is on holiday, the other lot have to be in school,” they said.

“The only time they can really go away together is in December, but then it is high fire danger season and the farmers don’t want to leave their farms.

“It is time the government realises boundaries are silly - we can now get instant emails and SMS messages from the other side of the country. It does not take three days on horseback any more.”



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