Qld-NSW hard border stoush heats up again

·3-min read

Hopes of ending weeks of heartache for communities on the Queensland-NSW border have been dashed again, with a new war of words over a proposal to move hard border checkpoints south.

Queensland in late July reintroduced a hard border with its southern neighbour in response to the spiralling NSW outbreak , progressively tightening exemptions for interstate travel.

Currently only a small class of essential workers from NSW can enter Queensland, creating chaos for the southern Gold Coast and Tweed regions.

But the Queensland government on Friday announced NSW had finally come to the table after earlier declining an offer to move checkpoints to temporarily include border town Tweed Heads within the northern state.

"We are very pleased that finally, after so many months, NSW has now said they are open to talking with us on moving checkpoints," Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman told reporters on Saturday.

"As someone that grew up on the Gold Coast, that border community really is one community and trying to make things easier for people to take their kids to school, to get medical appointments absolutely makes sense."

"We're just really pleased that NSW has finally realised how tough it is for that border community," she said.

She said it was very early days, with issues like policing of the border to be worked out.

However NSW leaders said that wasn't so and hit back at what they labelled Queensland's "frustrating" approach.

They say moving checkpoints isn't a solution they're open to discussing.

"Let me make this clear, despite noise from the Queensland government yesterday, the NSW government vehemently opposes moving the border check point south to the Tweed River," NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said in a statement on Saturday.

"What we want is a genuine border bubble so that workers can get to work and people can access vital health care."

Mr Barilaro has written to Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath to advocate for that solution instead.

A border bubble would still require travel permits, while moving the border south would not but would create a challenge for Queensland to police an area outside its own jurisdiction.

There is no neat geographical feature which can be used to support enforcement and compliance operations, NSW authorities say, and the region's access to health care would be diminished if the Tweed Hospital was temporarily absorbed into Queensland.

NSW officials were trying to develop a workable solution for border community but their attempts have "fallen on deaf ears" Mr Barilaro said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard also piled on.

"It's very frustrating for residents in the northern part of NSW to be effectively locked out by Queensland and it's presenting some real challenges," he told reporters on Saturday.

"There are medical staff who are on the side of the border who work at the Gold Coast hospital and vice-versa.

"It's certainly problematic."

Moving checkpoints had been looked at and deemed unviable but discussions continued, he said.

While NSW recorded more than a thousand new cases again on Saturday, restrictions in Queensland have eased after it notched its 20th day without a community-acquired case on Friday.

Up to 100 people are now allowed at home gatherings and 200 can attend weddings and funerals, or one person per two square metres.

The same social-distancing limits are allowed in cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs, while stadiums and venues with ticketed seats can operate at 100 per cent capacity.

Face masks are still mandatory indoors and outdoors where people are unable to socially-distance.

Four new overseas-acquired cases were diagnosed in the state's hotel quarantine on Friday.

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