Border trade-off: What Premier’s willing to offer


QUEENSLAND looks set to open up faster, with intrastate travel restrictions dropped sooner and more people allowed in cafes and restaurants as a trade-off over the continuing border closures.

Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday told a crucial meeting of influential business leaders on the Gold Coast she would fast-track the easing of some restrictions but warned she would not budge on opening Queensland's border.

Several figures at yesterday's meeting on the Gold Coast said the Queensland Premier seemed "tired" and "stressed" after managing the coronavirus crisis for months.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media at Star Casino on the Gold Coast. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media at Star Casino on the Gold Coast. Picture: Glenn Hampson

"I actually felt sorry for her," one said.

Ms Palaszczuk has come under intense criticism for suggesting last week that the Queensland border might not be reopened until September, just 10 days after she released a restrictions road map that detailed a proposed July 10 date.

Among the participants at yesterday's meeting were Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan, Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce president Martin Hall, GoldLinQ chair John Witheriff, Tourism Australia chair Bob East, Gold Coast Titans co-owner Rebecca Frizelle and former premier Rob Borbidge.

According to one source, Ms Palaszczuk seemed "obsessed with the health side of the crisis" and adamant that she wanted to completely rid Queensland of COVID-19.

However, she indicated that allowing full intrastate travel and increasing the 20 person limit allowed in pubs, clubs and cafes from June 12 was on the Government's agenda to help the ailing sectors of the state's economy.

The meetings followed a terse press conference in which the Premier said all restrictions would be considered on Sunday at the Government's monthly review, "but it would be highly unlikely" a decision would be made to reopen the border due to high levels of community transmission in NSW and Victoria.

She said it was her priority to "get Queensland moving first".

Asked about how the winter tourism season would be impacted by the loss of southern travel, Ms Palaszczuk turned questions back on a female journalist, asking: "Well you obviously have a family. Do you want your family to have community transmission from NSW?"

"Do you? Do you want to put that at risk?"

She later told reporters "these are really hard decisions, everyone".

"I mean, I have sleepless nights, I understand people are hurting, I understand people have lost their jobs," she said.

"I want to get people back into work as quickly as possible, but if I don't do it safely, it could cripple our industry for years to come and take us backwards and no one wants to go back into lockdown.

" … I can see what's happening around the world and I don't want a second wave here in Queensland."

She said she would continue to take the advice of Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

"All it takes is one or two people that have COVID-19 to come into Queensland and spread it around and we go back to where we started from and that's the last thing I want to see," she said.

Originally published as Border trade-off: What Premier's willing to offer