More small towns in the Wimmera's west will have more opportunities to access services in South Australia from midnight on Wednesday.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens announced on Tuesday the border bubble, which exempts people near the border from the ban on Victorians travelling to South Australia, will extend from 40 kilometres in either direction to 70 kilometres.
The changes will come into effect from midnight Wednesday. People will also be able to travel to South Australia from New South Wales through Mildura from this time onwards.
The extension will see Nhill and Harrow, which are less than 70 kilometres from the border as the crow flies, included in the bubble.
In South Australia, Keith, Padthaway and Lucindale will be drawn into the bubble.
Mr Marshall said the decision followed a meeting of the state's transition committee on Tuesday morning.
"We will be looking at the requirement for testing (on nearby people crossing the border). Currently it's once per week. There is a suggestion we move this to once fortnightly," he said.
"It is something we hope to provide some advice on in coming weeks.
Asked where restrictions on Victorians would go from here, Mr Marshall said: "Victoria has done very well (to lower case numbers), but they have got stage four restrictions in place at the moment. What we need to see is what happens in Victoria once those restrictions are lifted.
"We are keen to consider also when the appropriate time is to move from a hard border to a 14-day mandatory quarantine in South Australia for Victorians. That would probably be the first step."
Commissioner Stevens clarified the 70 kilometre buffer zone applied to both sides of the border.
"If you are within that 70 kilometres you have the ability to transit across the border as a cross-border community member. It is 70 kilometres from the border either side," he said.
Apsley's Paula Gust continues to advocate for residents affected by the hard border closure through the "Cross Border Call Out" initiative.
She said Tuesday's announcement would help "a small number of people".
"It's movement, which is better than what we've had," she said.
Mrs Gust said CBCO was pushing for more cross-border residents to be allowed to travel to appointments in Adelaide with less red tape.
"This is more pressing than allowing another 30 kilometres into Victoria," she said. "Once you're getting to 70 kilometres away from the border, people are usually going to Horsham or Hamilton for medical treatment you would assume.
"An issue is people have to go through applications for exemptions, and what generally happens is they have an appointment, and it takes two or three weeks for the application to return.
"Part of their approval is they have to do 14 days of quarantine in SA before they can get to their appointments. This is after we've had border testing and cleared of COVID.
"One of the cases was the government took too long to reply to an elderly couple in Edenhope. The wife has to have an injection in her throat every three months with a laryngologist. We advocated for her and they have allowed her to go to South Australia. She still has to be in isolation while attending her appointments, but she won't miss her appointment now."
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to the Wimmera Mail-Times, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling the Wimmera's story. We appreciate your support of local journalism.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.