The NSW government is yet to approve a plan it's been sitting on since the weekend to get Canberrans stranded on the Victorian border home.
Those stuck in Victoria have been told the situation may take a number of days more to resolve.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the ACT government is doing everything it can to convince NSW authorities to allow ACT residents to return to the territory.
Mr Barr said a formal proposal was presented to the NSW government early on Sunday morning, which would see ACT police sent to the border to help escort car loads of Canberrans back to the national capital.
NSW was yet to approve the plan as of 2pm Monday.
Mr Barr said he hoped a resolution would be reached by the afternoon.
Dozens of Canberrans have been blocked from crossing the Victorian border after NSW made a snap decision late on Thursday night to cancel their travel permits.
The ACT government had thought an agreement had been reached late on Saturday afternoon to allow the stranded residents to return home, before NSW toughened its position.
ACT Health is now advising that the only way to travel from Victoria to the ACT is by flying to Canberra Airport.
Speaking on Monday morning, Mr Barr said high-level talks had been held between state leaders, police chiefs and health officials in a bid to resolve the "regrettable" situation.
"We have deployed every single avenue of diplomacy that is possible with NSW repeatedly over the past 48 hours," Mr Barr said.
"We are hopeful that the propositions that we have put forward will address the concerns that NSW have outlined, which principally are that they don't want those ACT residents to be stopping in NSW on their journey from Albury to the ACT.
"We believe that is possible."
Mr Barr hoped that "common sense" would prevail, arguing that it would be safer for the stranded Canberrans to drive straight home rather than travel back to locked-down Melbourne to catch a flight back to the capital.
He said Canberrans crossing the border to drive home would not stop for fuel or in any NSW townships.
NSW police have turned around more than 500 people on the border since changes to the permit system came on Friday.
Member for Albury Justin Clancy said he had been blindsided by the changes.
"For me the biggest concern to come out of the last public health orders is the fact it was released with no time for the community to have awareness," he said on Monday.
"That is a clear issue with the process ... that there's no visibility prior to the public health order."
Independent MP Dr Helen Haines - whose electorate of Indi takes in the twin city of Wodonga - said there had been confusion and frustration in cross-border communities for weeks about the permit system.
Now there was anger.
"This public health direction came in just after midnight with no warning, no consultation. People such as those Canberrans who in good faith came to the border have been sitting there for days," she said.
Anne Cahill Lambert is among the Canberrans stranded at the NSW border.
Her husband Rod had finished a four-month contract as a locum doctor at a Victorian hospital, and they are now waiting for permission to drive to the border with their dog and belongings in tow.
"I'm rattled now. I'm starting to worry that I'll never get home," she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was important for the ACT government to engage with NSW to resolve the issues.
"When it has come to my responsibilities in this, particularly in relation to those members of parliament who have been journeying through NSW to the ACT, I've been able to get a favorable outcome on those issues," he said.
"They're quite unique circumstances the convening of the parliament, but more broadly I understand the NSW Premier will be anxious in the circumstances, we certainly don't want to see people stranded but I hope between the ACT Chief Minister and NSW Premier they might be able to resolve those matters."
Canberra senator Zed Seselja said he was deeply concerned Canberrans had been stopped at the border.
"I have raised my concerns directly with Deputy Premier John Barilaro, and support the efforts of the ACT and NSW governments to come to a quick resolution that will allow Canberrans to return home in a COVID-safe way," he said.
The last-minute changes on Thursday night made by the NSW government meant all NSW residents could only return home via Sydney Airport, and had to go straight into hotel quarantine at their own expense.
ACT residents who had been granted permission to travel to Canberra were no longer allowed to.
The NSW government has been contacted for comment.