Gladstone fishers can still fish for food and boats can be used for essential travel, but not recreation.
Gladstone fishers can still fish for food and boats can be used for essential travel, but not recreation.

MP's phones ringing off the hook

THE questions being fielded at Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher's office range from what entitlements people can access to how many mates they can invite fishing.

The latter is an example of how some official messaging has been unclear and changing daily during the COVID-19 health emergency.

In this case, Mr Butcher said it was an announcement made through the National Cabinet that involved several different state departments including Queensland Fisheries, the Department for Transport and Police.

He took to Facebook to clarify the issue on Tuesday night in a post that was shared more than 200 times.

Essentially people can still fish for food and boats can be used for essential travel, but not recreation.

Social distancing measures apply: this means a maximum of two people in a boat if they're not from the same household.

"If you have three mates in a boat you will potentially be fined," Mr Butcher said.

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd also reported a steady increase of calls to his office, mostly regarding stimulus packages.

He said there had also been confusion about the closure of certain businesses such as gun shops and golf courses, as well as concerns about whether the Gladstone Hospital was equipped to handle an outbreak in the city.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the rules for boaties during the COVID-19 crackdown restricted a range of activities.

"If you own a boat and want to head out in the water in your local community to fish for food this weekend, you can," Mr Bailey said.

"If you need your boat to travel locally in your community, you can still do that.

"If you want to head out on your kayak or stand-up paddleboard for exercise, you still can."

Mr Bailey said boatramps across the state would also remain open.

"We want people to continue living their lives as normally as possible under the current circumstances but the advice of the chief health officer needs to be followed," he said.

"No one should be leaving their home unless it's absolutely necessary."

At a time when information from different levels of government is changing almost constantly, Mr Butcher said simple messaging was key. He said people could still go to stores like Bunnings and Kmart but they should use commonsense.

Ideally that means one person from a household gets what's needed and goes home.

The 1.5m distance rule should be observed and talk at the register should be limited.

Private gatherings at people's homes are also off limits.

It was Mr Butcher's granddaughter's birthday yesterday and celebrations were conducted via Facetime.

"That's all we can do for my granddaughter," he said.

With Easter around the corner, Mr Butcher said now was not the time for relatives to be visiting.

The message comes as the State Government announced stronger border control measures to come in from 12.01am Friday.

Anyone who is not a Queensland resident or considered exempt from the restrictions will not be able to enter the state.

Exemptions include travel for work or medical reasons, and must by verified with a border pass.

Freight transport services will be allowed through without a border pass permit.

The restrictions replace the current arrangements, which enable people to cross the border provided they self-quarantine for 14 days.

Since Queensland implemented border restrictions on March 25, 19,760 vehicles have been intercepted and police have issued 1451 quarantine orders to people crossing the border.



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