Queensland will open its border to the ACT on 25 September – but will still keep in place restrictions for those travelling through NSW.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet attacked the decision and quipped the northern state was “turning the Newell Highway into the Berlin Corridor”.
“I don’t understand their position,” he said. “This is not State of Origin, what we should be focused on is a national approach.”
The decision to open to the ACT only means Canberra residents will be forced to fly, and not drive, across the border to avoid travelling through a designated ‘hotspot’.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said the opening, from 1am on Friday, 25 September, would coincide with the ACT school holidays.
“We’ve been saying for some time now that for Queenslanders, Queensland is good to go, well now for Canberrans, Queensland is good to come,” he said. “Now is the time we would urge them [Canberrans] to start thinking about coming up to Queensland for a holiday.”
Earlier on Friday, Australian Aviation revealed how Queensland’s decision to reshut its border to NSW caused Sydney Airport’s passenger traffic to plunge nearly 70 per cent.
In August, the airport welcomed just 91,000 domestic travellers compared with 276,000 in July.
As the NSW-Victoria border shut earlier on 6 July, the figures suggest Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision was the crucial factor behind the drop.
Queensland’s decision has faced fierce criticism from many in the industry in the last two months. In particular, Qantas has launched a petition calling on all states to open their borders. Already, 40,000 people have signed.
The move came alongside the airline sending targeted letters to MPs in states it said did not agree to a road map out of “hard border regimes” during the last national cabinet meeting.
One passage of the correspondence read, “Arbitrary border restrictions are having a profound economic and social cost to communities, businesses, supply chains and jobs in Queensland.
“I ask that you closely consider these implications for the welfare and economic wellbeing of your community and join the call for a rational, harmonised approach to border management guided by the best medical advice.”