Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said she will not consider relaxing her tough border closures until there is no community transmission in shut off states.
“I think we’re going to continue to see restrictions in Victoria up until Christmas time,” Premier Palaszczuk said. “That’s very unfortunate for people living there but it’s a serious situation.”
Despite the blow to the state’s tourism and aviation sectors, Premier Palaszczuk told reporters she would “put the safety of Queenslanders first” and did not have “any intention” of relaxing restrictions while the virus is passing through the community.
“You only have to look at what’s happening around the world and we definitely don’t want to see that happening here,” she said.
“I know people want certainty but we can’t give that certainty when the situation is evolving and changing. As you are seeing there are more hotspots being added in NSW. That is something we are monitoring. The situation in Victoria is very concerning. We hope they get their numbers under control … I can’t deal in hypotheticals.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind told ABC News he was hoping borders could open long before Christmas.
“We’re hopeful that the measures will be more targeted very soon, because it seems this virus will be around for some time,” he said. “We have to really start living, to some extent, with the prospect of having cases here and there without shutting everything down.”
Last week, Australian Aviation reported comments by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that suggested Queensland’s border closure to NSW and ACT was driven by politics, not medical advice.
He added it was “childish” that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the decision to introduce new travel restrictions rapidly without first informing her NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian.
Talking to the Today program, Minister Dutton said “When you get a Premier like Annastacia Palaszczuk making announcements about border closures when Gladys Berejiklian is doing a press conference and she is caught out, the question is asked of her and she knows nothing about it, she hadn’t been contacted by Queensland you would imagine she would be a bit miffed.
“I think it is childish. There is a growing mood here in Queensland at the moment of people who say, ‘If the doctors are saying close the borders or put in place this regime, fair enough,’ but there is a lot of politics being played in Queensland at the moment.”