Wednesday, 5 August 2020
THE decision today by the Queensland Premier to re-introduce a ‘hard border’ with NSW this weekend is disappointing, but not surprising.
As of 1am, Saturday, 8 August 2020, all visitors will be denied entry into Queensland, except for residents of border communities and essential workers.
I feel the need to make clear that in no way does the Queensland Government’s decision reflect the current health advice here in NSW. Our state is not Victoria and is far, far from a COVID-19 hotspot.
I also feel it is a bit disingenuous of the Queensland Premier to brand all of NSW as a COVID-19 hotspot, when the majority of rural and regional communities have gone out of their way to follow health advice, social distance and have successfully kept themselves coronavirus free – like the Northern Tablelands.
While the announcement today is frustrating for border residents in our region, it should not be entirely unexpected, after all, we’ve been here before, just a few short months ago.
Upon hearing the news early this morning, and in the interests of keeping the wheels of our local economy turning and minimising the impact on our region’s residents, I immediately contacted my Queensland counterpart, Agriculture Minister Mark Furner, requesting the following assurances in relation to the hard border:
• That residents in border communities throughout the Northern Tablelands would still be able to cross the border to access work, health services, shop for groceries and other essentials;
• That people employed in the agricultural sector and food supply chain businesses would still be able to cross the border to carry out their important work; and
• That the freight industry would still be able to cross the border to undertake its critical work.
I was given an assurance that exemptions would exist to permit travel in all those circumstances by permit – which means the border restrictions will mirror those first imposed a few months ago.
While this is pleasing, I will continue to monitor the situation closely.
I urge Northern Tablelands residents who may have been planning a trip north in the near future to contact the Queensland Government on 13 42 68 and seek advice on their specific situation.
Further information on can also be found at www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19