Premier refuses to comment on border reopen
THE State Government and Prime Minister have ended weeks of unnecessary turmoil by confirming the Queensland border will reopen on July 10, pending medical advice.
Scott Morrison announced the date early yesterday afternoon after a National Cabinet meeting. The Bulletin sent a text to the Premier's office asking for comment. An adviser sent back a screenshot of the Government's July 10 Stage 3 roadmap, but anxious Queenslanders were still waiting to hear from their leader late last night.
Her office said she would not be commenting yesterday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk originally announced July 10 as the date for interstate travel, but caused widespread panic when September was spruiked as a "more realistic" date.
She had failed to provide certainty around a reopening, saying it would be reviewed at the end of the month.
After yesterday's National Cabinet meeting, Mr Morrison said: "Queensland, I welcome the opening of the borders next month. In Queensland they've torn down that wall there … I'm very pleased that they have.
"I welcome the decision, which I understand was made after National Cabinet today, by the Queensland Government, to nominate a date for the opening of that border in Queensland."
At an earlier press conference, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said restrictions would be relaxed on July 10 if "it was safe to do so".
Struggling Gold Coast businesses have implored Ms Palaszczuk to announce a reopening date. The Bulletin had reported the airport was receiving just three commercial flights a week and the city risked $1.2 billion from its winter domestic tourist market. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost and reports of self-harming have increased.
A July 10 opening will coincide with the second week of the NSW school holidays.
Mayor Tom Tate said the July 10 date provided certainty for businesses.
"I asked for a date and now we have it, so I thank the Premier for that," Cr Tate said.
"As I said this morning, I would like to have seen it open in time for the holidays, but I'm pleased we now have certainty.
"On a brighter note we still have the opportunity to capture the last week of the NSW holidays. Let's gear up to welcome them back to Queensland."
While he welcomed a date, Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce head Martin Hall said keeping borders closed during the start of the NSW school holidays and missing the Queensland holidays would deliver a "fatal blow" to businesses on the brink of financial ruin.
"It's disappointing to be honest and just another kick in the guts and definitely a fatal kick in the guts for many businesses on the Gold Coast," he said.
"We now have to wait another three months before the next holidays. It's a long time and will be too long for many to tread water.
"We've got what we want, we've got a date but it's a little too late in the piece to be open after the school holidays. It's like a comedy of errors."
Mr Hall said he was now focusing on "keeping alive" struggling businesses.
In Thursday's Bulletin, Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said the July date would be too late and would take the economy longer to recover.
"The airlines need certainty, and sufficient lead time to prepare to resume operations, and potential visitors need time to plan and book a Gold Coast holiday," Mr Mills said.
"Every day that goes by means flight schedules get pushed back, people book holidays elsewhere, and the Queensland economy takes longer to recover.
"It looks increasingly likely that we will miss out on the once-only opportunity for the school holiday uplift."
Yesterday, there was only one new active COVID-19 case in Queensland.
There are four active cases across the state.
So far 240,861 tests have been conducted and there have been 1064 cases. The Gold Coast has had 196 people diagnosed with the virus.
Originally published as Premier refuses to comment on border reopen