GCCI calls for weekly reviews on border reopening
WHILE the Palaszczuk Government keeps Queensland borders shut to ward off COVID-19 transmissions, Gladstone's $5.6 billion gross regional product and $200 million-a-year tourism market continues to haemorrhage money.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday the opening of the borders would be reviewed monthly, based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young.
Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Joe Smith said the virus and border closures had a significant effect on the region's $5.6 billion gross regional product.
"We need to find a balance between the health and the economic impacts of opening the borders again," Mr Smith said.
"More regular reviews of the border closures would be good - on a weekly basis would be better."
He said border closures were a fine balance between the economy and the health of the community.
"Businesses such as gyms and beauticians have had little or no income since the closures were announced until recently some were allowed to reopen," he said.
"Other businesses such as restaurants and cafes have had significant decreases in income with some offering takeaways and others not."
GADPL chief executive Gus Stedman said the border closures had been a massive blow to the local tourism industry.
"The loss to the local tourism economy has been in the tens of millions since the lockdown and it will take our local operators years to recover from the losses," he said.
"The GAPDL would like tourists to return as soon as the health officials deem it safe to do so."
He said the GAPDL remained optimistic but understood the reasons the borders can't open sooner.
"The latest news is September, however the three-step plan did mention July and hopefully if the curve continues to flatten they may relax restrictions sooner," Mr Stedman said.
"While we would like things return to normal sooner, we must keep the safety and health of our community as our foremost consideration."
Tourism operators in the region have supported the border closures, Mr Stedman said, but have called on Ms Palaszcsuk to ensure regional Queensland isn't forgotten regarding the economic impact of the closures.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said yesterday Queenslanders were welcome to travel to NSW, but people south of the border can't travel north.
Victoria and NSW are the only states that have not closed their borders to protect against the virus.