The head of Qantas’ pilots’ association has echoed chief executive Alan Joyce’s calls for a national consensus on state border closures.
Mark Sedgwick, the executive director of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), also told this week’s Australian Aviation podcast he thinks border closures can’t eradicate COVID-19 altogether.
“The more you shut borders, the more people become complacent and don’t socially distance, don’t wash hands, don’t stay home on their own, and when it gets into the community it runs away,” Sedgwick said. “We need a national approach.”
Last week, Australian Aviation reported how Joyce accused Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of closing her borders purely for political gain.
He said the restrictions, which include shutting off NSW and the ACT, will cause a lot of small companies in Queensland “to go out of business”, adding that states had no excuse not to open up to areas with few coronavirus cases.
“Surely these decisions should be based on the facts and the level of cases that we’re seeing around the various states?” said Joyce.
When asked by hosts Phil Tarrant and Christian “Boo” Boucousis on his views of Joyce’s words, Sedgwick was supportive.
“[We need] a national consensus based on nationwide, not an individual state, health advice, [and following] the entire AHPCC [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee], with all of the state ministers coming together.”
The news comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday said that “Australia wasn’t built to have internal borders” and restrictions should be a last resort.
“Zero per cent [of coronavirus cases] is not a threshold for how borders should be managed,” PM Morrison said.
“Australians need to be confident… that all other measures have been pursued before those restrictions come in place because borders do cost. They cost people’s livelihoods. They cost people’s jobs.”
Also on the Australian Aviation podcast, Sedgwick reveals how many of his members have found work elsewhere, why he has worked hard to build a good relationship with the Qantas Group and what advice he would give to governments trying to protect the profession for the next generation.
To listen, click the link above or search on your usual podcast provider.