The heated debate among state governments over internal border closures continued on Thursday with Queensland’s transport minister telling NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to “get her act together”.
Mark Bailey didn’t hold back when addressing media over the issue, suggesting there would be no change to Queensland’s decision to keep its border closed to NSW until the “worst-performing” state can lower its number of active coronavirus cases.
"Let's be very clear, on the border issue, we won't be lectured to by the worst performing state in Australia," he told reporters.
"There are 33 times the number of active cases in NSW compared to Queensland. So, NSW needs to get its act together and get its community transmission down and we'll all be better off throughout this nation, including in Queensland.
"It's time for Gladys and the NSW government to get their act together and to start performing as well as Queensland has done on the health front.”
Ms Berejkilian has been vocal on her stance that there should be no internal border closures within Australia, suggesting the nation’s economy was reliant on its tourism industry.
Her views have prompted a growing feud with not only Queensland but other states who are desperate to protect its low levels of coronavirus cases.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Ms Berejkilian on Monday she “will have to wait” to enjoy a holiday in Queensland and hinted the border could be closed until September.
The South Australian, Northern Territory and Tasmanian governments have also held firm about their border closures. Like NSW, the ACT and Victoria’s borders remain open.
Yet while introducing the National Cabinet’s recommended three-step plan to a COVID-safe Australia, Scott Morrison insisted border closures were never advised by the federal government.
And on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly reiterated the government’s stance, saying he was unsure why states had implemented such tight restrictions on travel.
"The domestic borders were not part of our plan for control of this, either opening or closing," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"From a medical point of view, I can't see why the borders are still closed."
By Wednesday, just 13 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours, giving Australia 535 active cases out of its total of 7079, which includes 100 deaths.
South Australia and the ACT have no active cases, while Western Australia has four and Queensland 12.
On Thursday, the NT announced it had no more active cases after its last one had tested negative.
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