’Give us the truth about reopening the border’
GOLD Coast's tourism boss wants a clarity on reopening interstate travel as Queensland's Premier stands firm on keeping the borders closed.
Business and tourism leaders say they want a firm date set for reopening of traffic, warning a prolonged closure would hurt an already devastated economy.
Hope was given it might reopen July 10 but now it is more likely to be September.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday suggested some interstate travel may be allowed into Queensland - but insisted the border with NSW will stay shut.
Strict border closures would continue to be reviewed monthly with no opening date in place, she said, but Queensland would consider working with other states that have not had significant community transmission.
"That could be for example South Australians coming to Queensland, because South Australia does not have community transmission," the Premier said.
"I am not going to put at risk the lives of Queenslanders … there is community transmission in NSW and Victoria.
"I will accept the advice of the chief health officer."
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said he supported Ms Palaszczuk's stance, warning a second wave of COVID-19 would be devastating.
"Health trumps everything else we do and until we can get confidence back we are all in this together," he said.
"I back the Premier because her decision is based on the medical opinion."
Confusion about reopening the border has abounded.
In a road map on May 8, the State Government indicated a best-case scenario of reopening July 10, with the date subject to change based on advice. In recent days, it has shifted to a September reopening, missing out on the mid-year school holidays period.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said it was critical to have clarity on when borders would reopen.
"As a sector we put health first and foremost and nothing could be more detrimental than a second wave," she said.
"However many businesses took the state's road map information on May 8 literally and were planning for a July 10 reopening.
"It would be handy to have a single source of truth on this," Ms Battista said.
Senior Opposition MP and Member for Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek said Ms Palaszczuk's decision-making was "haphazardous".
"We have businesses who want to get back to work and an economy which is moribund and needs to be reopened as soon as possible.
"The Premier is becoming increasingly haphazardous."
Gold Coast doctors say the health of the community is paramount.
Gold Coast General Practitioners Association president Katrina McLean said ultimately the decision rested on the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
"In Queensland we have done so well. At present there is still a risk with community spread in other states, and people travelling potentially causing some outbreaks of cases.
"While we are starting to feel things are a little more normal, we are still on a knife edge, we need to be so careful.:
"We really don't want to go back to a situation where there is concern of community spread here. The impact of that would be significant."
Coolangatta Medical Centre's Dr Dominic Bannerman said border closures a personal imposition: "I live in NSW and have to park my car there to walk over every day.
"I can understand why they want border restrictions in Queensland which has lower cases than NSW.
"But for the border communities there is a difficulty, for patients and workers."
"There have been very limited cases in the area, if they were to persist with the closures I would think realistically there would be more exceptions in place for communities like the Tweed.
"It is a bit ridiculous."
Originally published as 'Give us the truth about reopening the border'