Queensland and WA double down on closures despite PM pressure

written by Adam Thorn | June 1, 2020
A busy morning for the Qantas domestic terminal at Perth Airport. (Chris Frame)
A busy morning for the Qantas domestic terminal at Perth Airport. (Chris Frame)

Queensland and WA have both reiterated they have no imminent plans to open their borders, despite pleas from Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Monday the border closure would protect residents from “outbreaks of infection in the eastern states”, adding he expects the restrictions to last “for some time to come”.

The news comes on the day his government unveiled a huge intrastate advertising campaign urging residents to holiday in their own state this year.

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Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the $6 million, six-month ‘Wander out Yonder’ promotional push was about urging people to “see some of those places you might not have seen for 20 years or indeed, might not ever have seen.”

“[It will be] the biggest holiday in Western Australia campaign the state has ever seen,” Minister Papalia said. “It’s a moment in time where West Australians can get out there and experience their own state and see what the rest of the world already knew about.”

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk again reiterated her commitment to shut the state from visitors, weeks after hinting they could remain closed until September.

“Let me make it very clear, the border will remain closed for the month of June,” she said.

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From midday, Queenslanders will be able to congregate in groups of 20 in pubs and even gyms, after the lifting of personal movement restrictions was brought forward.

Last week, Australian Aviation reported that the Prime Minister piled pressure on states and territories to open up by saying the closures were “never the medical advice”.

On Tuesday morning, PM Morrison separately appeared on Channel 9’s Today Show, KIIS FM and Sky News and reiterated to each that ending free movement within Australia was also never agreed by the national cabinet.

“There is no doubt that those sort of borders do harm the economy, they do harm jobs and it is important that we get those removed as soon as possible,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s continued intervention came after a separate row between NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her Queensland counterpart over when borders should open.

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3 Comments

  • Patrickk

    says:

    I presume your story applies to the two Liberal government states of SA and Tassie. Probably an accidental oversight by Sco-mo

  • Jack Bowers

    says:

    Gladys needs to fill her hotels since the departure of international tourism. Qld provides nearly $2 billion to the NSW economy ( no doubt it is higher coming north) but unlike NSW and all the other states Qld is not a city state economy.
    Tourists in the winter months flood north rather than to just the well covered South East corner. The possibility of regional outbreaks is a real concern and a considered opening of the state to all and sundry is the only way to be sure. The Qld CMO is arguably the country’s most experienced in epidemiology. Qld has to be very aware of disease transmission. While it was never on other states’ radar during the swine flu epidemic Qld was in the front line with a distance of only a couple of kilometres from PNG. Exact public health measures are essential in this state.

  • Jennifer

    says:

    Queensland cannot stay closed forever. Stay home if you are frightened. Let those of us who want to travel and who want to work get back to it.

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