Five-week wait: NSW could be locked out til Nov

It could be five long weeks before Queensland considers reopening to all of NSW despite other states pushing the button on reopening now.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles this morning said the government would continue to make border decisions towards the end of each month, as it had already done for September by opening up to further parts of far north NSW.

An assessment for all of NSW will likely not be made until the end of October - coinciding with the state election.

"We will assess all the border restrictions toward the end of every month and that's what we intended to do this month and will do next month," he said.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the borders would continue to be assessed at the end of each month. Picture: Dan Peled
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the borders would continue to be assessed at the end of each month. Picture: Dan Peled

"We will continue to monitor NSW and Victoria ... and we'll ease those restrictions as we can safely do so."

It came as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday that Byron Bay, Glenn Innes, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Ballina would be included in the COVID bubble, as well as all of Queensland.

But the rest of New South Wales would remain locked out until community transmission was further under control.

Despite the easing of the border, pressure continues to build on the Queensland Government to open the borders to NSW as South Australia prepares to do just that from midnight tonight.

Mr Miles maintained the decision would be made by the Chief Health Officer during caretaker mode and conceded opening up to part of NSW still created a risk.

"We need to be cautious," he said.

"What you've seen is a very cautious, but measured approach.

"It does create a risk - there will be people from Sydney holidaying in Byron Bay at the same time people from Queensland are holidaying in Byron Bay."

Mr Miles said relaxing the border to allow more parts of NSW into QLD was a risk. Picture: Steve Holland
Mr Miles said relaxing the border to allow more parts of NSW into QLD was a risk. Picture: Steve Holland

Mr Miles took a shot at Prime Minister Scott Morrison for withdrawing Australian Defence Force personnel from manning the Queensland borders saying it was 'no secret' the Prime Minister did not support Queensland's strict border protection measures but the policy had worked and he should 'back off'.

 

 

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said opening up to all other states who had kept their numbers down was the right thing to do.

"The expert health advice that we've received says that you need to have one incubation cycle, so 14 days without community transmission," he said on Sunrise today.

SA Premier Steven Marshall says it is the ‘right time’ for South Australia to reopen to NSW. Photo: Mike Burton
SA Premier Steven Marshall says it is the ‘right time’ for South Australia to reopen to NSW. Photo: Mike Burton

"The numbers in New South Wales are continuing to go down, they haven't had community transmission there for 13, hopefully 14 days and therefore we can open our border with New South Wales tonight, it's been closed for months."

"It's really important that we get open with New South Wales but it goes beyond business, family dislocation has been a real problem, you get grandparents who haven't seen their grandkids, you get parents that are dislocated from their children."

"Things are improving right across the nation, but we're really getting the economic benefit of that at the moment."

South Australia would be open to all states except Victoria from midnight.

 

 

Health Minister Greg Hunt today said there was no reason to keep the borders closed to any state aside from Victoria.

"We have said that there's no epidemiological basis or health basis for borders outside of Victoria to be closed," he said on the Today Show.

"There is progress and we should welcome that progress but we'd like to see ultimately a national travel bubble outside of Victoria and then once Victoria is safe and recognised by the states as being safe we can get back to full movement in Australia."

 

Health Minister Greg Hunt. Picture by Sean Davey.
Health Minister Greg Hunt. Picture by Sean Davey.

"There's no federal advice to that effect and ultimately it would be very clear that (opening the border) is something that we'd like to see."

Readers of T he Courier-Mail have expressed their concern for the prolonged border closures, claiming "sanity will not prevail until the state borders are completely open".

"The Queensland Premier has trashed our State, but what would she care? For her, it's all about the election," one wrote.

 

Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW. Picture: Steve Holland
Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW. Picture: Steve Holland

 

"SA and NT are opening to the whole of NSW yet QLD won't until NOV 1," said another.

"The state government advice is for 28 days without Covid so why didn't they open to the whole of western NSW? I'm talking about places that are from the Victorian border to the Queensland border that have NEVER had a Covid case."

 

Originally published as Five-week wait: NSW could be locked out til Nov


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