Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has resisted calls to reopen the state’s borders, suggesting such a move could be months away.
There is mounting pressure from outside the state, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian leading the charge that opposes the decision to keep the borders closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been quietly having a gibe at all of my state colleagues who have their borders shut. NSW didn’t, Victoria didn’t,” Ms Berejiklian told Sky News.
“The sooner we can do that the better.”
But on Monday, Ms Palaszczuk hit back, warning that until the rate of transmission in NSW lowers dramatically, the border will remain closed.
“I know how much Gladys loves her holidays in Far North Queensland. I'm sorry, Gladys, you will have to wait a little bit longer,’ she said on Channel Nine’s Today show.
Queensland closed its borders in late March and Ms Palaszczuk told ABC Breakfast that is likely to remain the case over the next several months.
“I would say that things would look more positive towards September,” she said, saying the decision ultimately lies with Queensland’s health experts.
“What we know is that there is still community transmission in Victoria and in New South Wales.
“So as soon as my chief health officer says that I can relax those restrictions, we absolutely will. We want to welcome as many people to the Sunshine State as possible... but of course, we just can't do that at the moment.”
Queensland tourism hit hard by pandemic
Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland’s tourism industry had been badly hit by the move and the pandemic as a whole, and any decision to ease the restrictions would be welcome.
“Of course, our tourism operators are absolutely looking forward to welcoming people back,” she said.
“They have been probably one of the hardest hit sectors. One in 10 jobs in Queensland is in the tourism sector.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said however Ms Palaszczuk would have to explain to her state exactly how such a move benefited its residents.
“Our borders are open, NSW borders are open. Other states have a different position. They will have to justify that to their local communities,” he told the Today show.
The Queensland government says it will review its border closures at the end of the month.
There is potential for the state to open its borders to specific states and territories which have also suppressed the virus, with Ms Palaszuzuk saying she can envisage such a move happening before borders restrictions are lifted for Victoria and NSW.
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