The NSW premier has taken a brutal swipe at her Queensland counterpart as the sunshine state refuses to budge on the border reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With Queensland committing to reopening the borders to NSW on November 1 if there are 28 days of unlinked community transmission, NSW is rushing to investigate three new coronavirus cases after being given 48 hours by Queensland authorities to find their source.
The closed border has been a long issue of contention between NSW and Queensland, and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday morning expressed her frustration over Queensland’s “excuses”.
“I just think it’s a concern that every time NSW expresses our view on what should be done in the pandemic, the Queensland government keeps changing the goalposts,” she told Channel 9’s Today program.
“I've never heard of this rule where you have to have two days to make sure you link your cases to an existing case. I mean, that's just something they plucked out of, I don't know where. I've never heard that advice before.”
Ms Berejiklian added she was “extremely concerned” by the attitude of the Queensland government.
“Not only have they set a benchmark which I think is unrealistic, because in a pandemic – in a place like NSW with eight million people when you are keeping your economy open – of course you’re going to have cases from time to time,” she said.
“But it’s how you manage that. It’s how you get on top of that. And I’m just really disturbed by what I’ve heard from the Queensland government and I hope that they really see beyond the borders of Queensland.
“We’re all Australians. Yes, we’re from different states of Australia, but we’re also all Australians, and Australians are suffering.”
NSW 12-day streak of no local cases ends
Ms Berejiklian has also taken aim at Queensland on 2GB radio, saying the expectation to find the source of new coronavirus cases in 48 hours was “unacceptable”.
“It might take a couple of days for that to occur, if and when that occurs,” she said.
“I just think the Queensland Government is really just thinking up every excuse it can as it goes along and I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
On Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian announced NSW’s 12-day streak of no locally acquired cases was over, with three new cases reported on Tuesday night after the 8pm tally cut off.
She said those numbers would be reflected in Thursday’s new daily case total.
It came just after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said even a single case of community transmission in NSW would send it back to square one in its quest to have the border reopened.
“I say to the Queensland government, I appreciate you will probably come out today and say the 28 days is ticking from the start,” Ms Berejiklian said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“Until the end of the pandemic, it is unlikely that NSW will get to 28 days with no community transmission.”
PM blasts Queensland and WA over borders
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken aim at Western Australia and Queensland over their strict border closures, saying they should only be in place for health reasons.
Mr Morrison is concerned WA leader Mark McGowan is using the restrictions for economic protectionism, after the premier said a travel bubble with other states would only result in the west losing tourism dollars.
"Locking people in a state so they won't spend money in other parts of the country, well that's not the Australian way," the prime minister told 2GB radio on Thursday.
WA will only open its borders to eastern states if there's 28 days of unlinked community transmission, the same strict benchmark Queensland has in place before NSW travellers can visit.
Mr Morrison criticised Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for keeping borders closed, arguing more people in NSW had returned to work than in her state.
"We need Queenslanders back in jobs, I want to see Queenslanders back in jobs."
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.