Tom Tate
Tom Tate

Tate: ‘I want every border in Australia open’

GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate says Queensland must reopen to Sydney and Victoria after the sudden border closure to more than 1.3 million South Australians.

He's also called on the State Government to reopen to South Australia's Adelaide as quickly as it moved to shut the gate when able to bolster struggling city businesses.

South Australia went into a sudden lockdown for at least six days from midnight in an attempt to halt an outbreak of COVID-19.

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SA Health reported two new cases Wednesday, bringing confirmed cases to 22.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shut the border to the state from 11.59pm Monday, prompting an outcry from Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt who has consistently said Adelaide has not met the national threshold for being a hotspot.

"There is a national hotspot definition. South Australia has not reached that," he said.

"The advice from the nation's chief medical officer is that states should implement extra screening at airports and borders. There has been no advice that any state or territory should be closed to any state or territory."

Cr Tate was worried about the impact of the latest Adelaide closure on visitation.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray

"But I'm more concerned about the Greater Sydney shut-out as I am still yet to be convinced (on scientific evidence) that the cases in Greater Sydney warrant a full shut-out of those four million plus residents," Cr Tate said.

"I again encourage the two Premiers (NSW and Queensland) to find common ground ASAP.

"I want every border in Australia open but my main focus remains Greater Sydney and Victoria given they are well on top of their COVID cases."

Cr Tate said it was important key eastern seaboard markets "open to us now".

"Greater Sydney needs to be given approval so it can join the rest of NSW. And Victoria has done a remarkable job in tackling its cases," he said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Patrick Woods.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Patrick Woods.

"People who have done it tough - like Victorians - need some incentive to continue to do the right thing. A great incentive is for them to have the capacity to travel to Queensland to holiday and visit family.

"This would be amazing for our local businesses. But the holiday window is closing and we need State-level decisions now so people can book their Christmas-New Year packages in confidence."

Cr Tate backed Ms Palaszczuk's move to implement the new Adelaide border blockade in step with most other states except NSW.

However, Cr Tate said once the outbreak is reined in the border should quickly reopen.

"Given South Australia has now announced a six-day shutdown, I support the SA Premier (Steven Marshall) and our Premier," he said.

"That said, if the virus is contained in SA, the same leaders need to be just as responsive in opening their borders back up."

Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills in an empty Gold Coast Airport check in area earlier this year. Picture: Scott Powick
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills in an empty Gold Coast Airport check in area earlier this year. Picture: Scott Powick

Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills was hopeful the border would reopen to all of NSW and Victoria next month.

"The Gold Coast tourism industry, which employs tens of thousands of people, relies heavily on these key markets," he said.

"The Gold Coast Airport team is ready to welcome passengers from NSW and Victoria from the beginning of December, in the lead up to the peak holiday period. Services to Hobart and Perth will also start from the beginning of the month."

Mr Mills said flights between Adelaide and the Coast doubled from August to October, after flights between the cities resumed July 21.

"The sudden closure of the border has had an immediate effect on forward bookings to and from the Gold Coast …," he said.

McPherson MP and Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews. Picture: Lawrence Pinder
McPherson MP and Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews. Picture: Lawrence Pinder

"There is an ongoing need for realistic, transparent and consistent controls to be established across the country to manage this crisis.

"It is essential that airports, airlines and passengers are able to plan into the future."

Gold Coast MP and Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said Queensland could not default to border closures at the first sign of an outbreak.

"Shutting things down at the drop of a hat is crushing confidence and making tourists hesitant to make plans for the holiday season," she said.

"Gold Coast businesses are really hurting, and we need to be doing what we can to support them in a safe way, rather than constantly moving the goalposts."

It was also revealed yesterday Queensland hotel quarantine workers would be tested every seven days to prevent outbreaks.

BORDER BLUES

•Queensland closed to the newly declared "hotspots" of Adelaide and specific parts of South Australia from 11.59pm on November 16.

•From 11:59pm on November 16, anyone who has been in a hotspot within the last 14 days will be turned away at the Queensland border, unless exempt.

•Anyone who was in SA before 11:59pm on November 8 does not have to quarantine due to a specific exemption

•Anyone who entered Queensland before 11:59pm on November 16 who was in a SA hotspot on or after November 9 must get tested.

•Travellers should also quarantine for 14 days, but it does not have to be in government arranged accommodation.

•Anyone who refuses to be tested will be directed to quarantine in government arranged accommodation, but will not need to pay.

•Travellers will be contacted by the Queensland Government based on information provided on their Queensland Border Declaration Pass if they've been in SA at any point between November 9 and 11:59pm on November 16.

•Adelaide Airport remain open during the South Australian lockdown for flights carrying, essential workers, freight and emergency services personnel.

Check the Queensland Government website for more information.

Originally published as Tate: 'I want every border in Australia open'



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