Local tourism operates are relieved to start seeing booking comfirmations.
Local tourism operates are relieved to start seeing booking comfirmations.

Are we missing the Great Southern Grey Nomad invasion?

CARAVAN Parks around the Gladstone region have mixed feelings about missing the usual influx of grey nomads from NSW and Victoria, escaping the chilly southern winter.

Due to COVID-19 heath regulations, the State Government has stood firm on the Queensland borders remaining shut to tourists from other states.

So far the virus has killed six people in Queensland and there are currently five active cases, while 104 people have died on the state's roads this year.

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said unless there was a second wave of the virus, Queensland borders should be opened on July 10, as announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Kin Kora Village Caravan Park owner Monte Olsen said the decision to keep the borders shut was sending businesses like his broke, right across Queensland.

"The only time we make any money in Gladstone is in June, July and August and if those borders don't open up we're buggered," he said.

"All our registration plates that come in over those months are Victorian and NSW and the border closures buggers that up.

"We're trying to promote tourism and things like this happen and we're stuffed.

"If it continues deep into July, there's no one from Melbourne or down south who will hook up and come up in their caravans for just a couple of weeks."

Given the current windback on restrictions, Mr Olsen said the border closures should be reviewed as a priority.

"We've got footballers kissing and cuddling each other and we've got thousands of people marching down the streets of Brisbane kissing and cuddling each other," he said.

"But they won't let a Victorian or a NSW person come up and stay in a caravan park, it's ridiculous, it just doesn't make any sense."

Despite losing close to $100,000 due to the virus, Boyne Island Caravan Park manager John Greth said he supports the government's decision to keep the borders closed.

With 60 permanent residents occupying some of the park's 105 sites, Mr Greth said tourists from other states bringing in the virus would be disastrous.

"I'm quite happy with the way things are currently, despite losing a lot of money," he said.

"If the virus got spread around the park, my 60 permanents would have to all quarantine in their caravans and homes and we don't want that."

Mr Greth said the park didn't usually see an influx of southerners until late in June.

"With the borders scheduled to open on July 10 we'll only miss a couple of weeks and we have a few of the Queensland tourists here so it's ok," he said.

Calliope Caravan Park manager Matthew Wilson said the border closure didn't impact the park greatly.

He said they usually had very few caravaners from NSW and Victoria each year.

"They all go down to the free camping near the river and stay there, so it doesn't really affect us," he said.

Here's what you thought about Queensland's border closure: 

Scott Sweeney, Gladstone 

I think we should keep the borders shut at the moment. I have family in Victoria but we are doing well in Queensland.


Scott Sweeney of Gladstone.
Scott Sweeney of Gladstone.

Jason Chandler, Tannum Sands 

I don't really have an issue with the borders being closed. It doesn't bother me.

Jason Chandler of Tannum Sands
Jason Chandler of Tannum Sands

Peter Collins, Rockhampton.

If they shut the national border earlier and left the internal borders open. People could have stayed at work then.

Peter Collins of Rockhampton.
Peter Collins of Rockhampton.

Mark Boyd, Gladstone.
The sooner the borders are open the better it will be.

Mark Boyd of Gladstone.
Mark Boyd of Gladstone.

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