What’s ‘wrong’ with current border restrictions
Australia's most powerful business lobby groups are ramping up the pressure on state leaders over border closures, which they say are crippling the economy.
The move from dozens of lobby groups which have signed a joint letter to National Cabinet is the biggest co-ordinated pushback from big business over the ongoing border closures.
The groups, including the Business Council of Australia and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, have slammed the "rapid and piecemeal implementation of complex and inconsistent" border rules.
They claim the rules have caused unintended consequences and exposed Australians to unnecessary risk.
They are pushing for a nationally consistent set of principles to determine domestic closures to provide greater operational certainty to business.
Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said closures had been an important measure in the pandemic, but it was imperative that the health of Australians underpinned policy decisions.
"The rapid and piecemeal implementation of complex and inconsistent domestic border restrictions in response to COVID-19 is impacting families, destroying jobs and crippling the Australian economy's ability to recover from this pandemic," she said.
"What has emerged is a patchwork of inconsistent state and territory-based rules that ignore the reality of the way small and large businesses operate across borders and Australians live their lives."
It follows The Courier-Mail reporting accusations from three federal LNP backbenchers that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was politicising border controls.
They claimed Queensland's declaration of the ACT as a hot spot had no medical grounds and was a ruse to lock out key LNP figures - and the Prime Minister - from the state election campaign
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles rejected the claims, saying hot spot declarations were made by the Chief Health Officer based on community transfer.
He said the ACT declaration was not based on community transmission in the national capital, but the "unacceptable risk" people in NSW could use it to gain entry into Queensland.
The business groups, covering sectors including aviation, tourism, agriculture, freight and resources, said a transparent and easily understood set of principles was urgently needed.
"We urge National Cabinet to agree to a national framework that clearly sets out the thresholds of when internal border controls can be implemented and how they would apply," the letter says.
The push follows moves by some of the same business groups last week to push Prime Minister Scott Morrison to relax international border restrictions to aid the economic recovery.
Originally published as What's 'wrong' with current border restrictions