Premier should listen to advice and open the border

QUEENSLANDERS have made huge sacrifices to suppress coronavirus.

For the last two months we have endured unprecedented restrictions on our way of life.

We should be proud of our success, but we must be realistic about the strain Queensland is under.

Much of our state is hurting like never before, with 129,600 jobs lost in April alone.

It would be hard to make this situation worse, but this week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did just that.

Her insistence that our interstate borders may not open until September has created despair in regions which depend on tourism.

A report commissioned by Cairns Regional Council has estimated the region will lose 7,700 jobs by the end of June. Around 30,500 jobs will be lost on the Gold Coast.

 

These figures are truly shocking.

That's why our priority must be restarting our economy.

And that means reopening our borders in July, as previously detailed in the State Government's own roadmap.

 

For the past two months, tourism businesses have been barely clinging on.

What has kept employers and their staff going is the hope that a recovery is coming.

The Premier's latest announcements have shattered that hope.

The tourism industry has never protested that the coronavirus restrictions were unnecessary. It simply asked for clear and consistent guidance on when and how businesses could resume.

Yet that appears to be beyond the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

A police officer speaks to a driver at the border crossing between Queensland and New South Wales. Picture: Scott Powick
A police officer speaks to a driver at the border crossing between Queensland and New South Wales. Picture: Scott Powick

 

Let's not forget that the closure of our borders was handled with staggering incompetence.

After the closure was announced on Twitter, it emerged that no thought had been given to how it might work in practice, especially on the densely-populated Coolangatta-Tweed Heads border.

Unfortunately, Palaszczuk Labor Government learned nothing from its first border debacle.

The Premier broke ranks with her own administration on Monday when she said that the border could be closed until September.

On the same day her Chief Medical Officer told a press conference that July was the target.

Even the Tourism Minister was reportedly stunned by the Premier's new timetable.

Labor must sort out its mangled messaging - and fast.

Queenslanders need answers to clear up the confusion caused by the State Government.

The Premier never released the medical advice she relied on to close schools and she has never released the medical advice used to close our borders.

She should treat Queenslanders like adults and release that advice, especially as it must conflict with the view of the Commonwealth's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, who has stated that interstate border closures were not necessary.

Throughout this crisis, the Federal Government has combined strong leadership with a willingness to engage with the public and media about its approach to coronavirus.

In Queensland, the Premier has poured scorn on anyone who dares question her mixed messages.

But when Labor's mixed messages are so damaging, hard questions must be asked.

As our tourist regions fight to save jobs, it's clear that our biggest problem is not Queensland's road map.

Our biggest roadblock is the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

Deb Frecklington is the state LNP leader

Originally published as Premier should listen to advice and open the border



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