The Queensland Border Might Remain Closed Until September
While there's community transmission in Victoria and New South Wales, Queensland is unlikely to open its border to the southern states.
Whether you're a Queenslander hoping to hop over the border for a mid-year holiday, or a resident of the rest of the country eager to soak in the Sunshine State's splendours once winter hits, don't go making plans anytime soon — with Queensland's borders possibly remaining closed until September.
While the state has been relaxing its COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks — including allowing non-essential trips out of the house, then permitting small in-home gatherings and letting restaurants, cafes and pubs reopen — Queensland hasn't changed its stance on its locked-down border. And, as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed this morning, that's not likely to happen in the short term.
Speaking to ABC News Breakfast, the Premier said "we want to welcome as many domestic tourists as possible to Queensland", but that isn't on the cards as yet because "there is still community transmission in Victoria and New South Wales". The Premier also explained that the border situation will be reviewed at the end of each month, and that she's aware that people are starting to ponder their plans for the June–July school holidays; however she noted that it's likely "things will look more positive towards September".
Asked about opening up travel to other states without community transmission — that is, allowing Queenslanders to visit Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, and permitting residents of those regions to visit Queensland — the Premier advised that she "could see that happening before New South Wales and Victoria, but that's a matter for the premiers there as well".
The Queensland Premier's comments come a few days after her New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian called for borders between Australian states to be reopened — and just a day after the NSW Premier singled out Queensland specifically, saying "I don't want to be able to say to people I'm allowed to go to Auckland before I can go to Brisbane".
As part of the national three-step roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month, some interstate travel is earmarked to return in step two, while all interstate travel would be allowed in step three — however, while it's the Federal Government's aim to implement all three stages by July, each step has to be put in place by every state individually. Over the past week, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria each moved to the first stage of eased coronavirus restrictions in different ways, with the same approach likely to apply to interstate travel.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Top image: Tourism and Events Queensland
Published on May 18, 2020 by Sarah Ward