Calls from CQ leaders for Queensland border to reopen

CENTRAL Queensland leaders have joined the State Liberal National Party call for Queensland borders to reopen faster, particularly to revitalise the tourism industry.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll joined LNP leader Deb Frecklington in calling for the review of yesterday’s suggested timeline of a September reopening.

Ms Frecklington said interstate borders should be open in July, in line with the state’s previously released road map.

“It doesn’t take a psychic to see that our domestic tourism industry has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Ms Landry said.

“Now that we have seen no COVID-19 cases in Western Queensland and one new case in Central Queensland, I think the State Government needs to seriously look at reopening the borders to other states.

Ms Carroll said normally, tourism operators and small businesses typically had the busy winter season to look forward to.

“We have 17 commercial caravan parks in the Rockhampton region and Capricorn Coast alone, that rely upon the six month winter period to carry them through financially for the entire year,” she said.

Ms Carroll said it would be catastrophic if the interstate borders were not to re-open until September, which represents nearly nine months of minimal to no income for tourism businesses.

“I am fielding daily distressed calls and emails from our operators, with this latest border war increasing business anxiety,” she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the Today Show yesterday; “in all honesty I’ve got to take the advice of the Chief Health Officer (CHO). So we’ll be reviewing those border restrictions at the end of each month, and fingers crossed towards the end of the year we will be seeing southerners return to our glorious sunshine state”.

CHO Dr Jeanette Young said the advice was the state needed to see no cases for two incubation periods.

She said the best case scenario would be July, but that was unlikely.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said it was “absolutely irresponsible” for the LNP to call for the borders to be opened, completely disregarding the expert health advice.

“It goes to show how desperate the LNP are to play politics with this pandemic, rather than taking the expert health advice. The Palaszczuk Government’s roadmap to recovery is based on that expert advice,” Ms Lauga said.

“We’ve seen how easy it is for a new case to make its way back into our community because of complacency. We must be vigilant now.

“There is significant community transmission in NSW and Victoria, without border restrictions we could see these cases travelling north.”

Ms Lauga said she didn’t want to see the loosening of restrictions reversed and Queensland possibly go backward given how hard we’ve worked.

“There are far too many examples of countries like South Korea, Singapore and Japan which had successfully contained COVID-19 but saw a second wave with the easing of restrictions too soon,” she said.

“Gradually we’re continuing to re-open business and community. It is important to take this step by step.

“Michelle Landry needs to put the health and safety of our community first and foremost.

“Managing the health crisis of this pandemic will be the most effective way of limiting the impact on our economy. More cases will only mean tighter restrictions to limit the spread which will in turn have a greater impact on our economy in the long-term.”

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