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Flight Centre CEO lashes Queensland border restrictions

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Graham Turner has argued that harsh border restrictions are doing more damage than the virus could.

Flight Centre's CEO has criticised harsh Queensland border restrictions, arguing that a side effect of economic damage will be the mental and physical health of owners.

Speaking to Today, Graham Turner of the Flight Centre Travel Group said the lockdown was potentially more damaging to people's health than waves of the virus.

"So many people are getting hurt so badly. And this is not just an economic thing," Mr Turner said.

READ MORE: Qantas, Virgin, Helloworld launch public plea to lift Queensland borders

"This is a mental and physical health as well, as well as personal freedoms. I mean, you have heard the terrible heart-breaking stories of people not being able to come to see their dying relatives."

Flight Centre has joined forces with Helloworld and airlines Qantas and Virgin to pressure state governments into relaxing border restrictions that have made tourism non-existent.

Aware of the impact of COVID-19, Mr Turner said the solution was to learn to live with successive waves as a nation and not on a state-by-state basis.

READ MORE: Queensland's CHO says police protection has made her feel safer

The economic impact of the pandemic has forced Flight Centre to temporarily stand down almost 4000 Australian workers since March.

"We should be working this as one Australia - having one Australian strategy and opening those borders up as soon as is safe and nearly all the borders it is totally safe at the moment," Mr Turner said.

"Most people would agree with that. Victoria is getting things well under control and we will have other waves.

"We will have infections and we just have to learn to live with it as a country, not state by state."

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Two children among Queensland's new cases

Mr Turner alleged that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was keeping borders closed to curry favour from voters ahead of an upcoming state election.

"Queensland has an election coming up and there are plans come out apparently," Mr Turner said.

"But these economic plans both from the Labor government and the LNP Opposition are of no use whatsoever without opened borders."

Pressure to open the borders has come from all angles in recent weeks.

READ MORE: 'Back off': AMA calls for attacks on Queensland's Chief Medical Officer to stop

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison implored Ms Palaszczuk to open up borders following the story of a Canberra woman who was unable to attend her father's funeral despite being clear of COVID-19.

This morning it was revealed that Queensland's Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young has been receiving hate mail and death threats from cyber-bullies over the state's restrictions and hard border closure.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland President Chris Perry said Dr Young has had to hire police to help protect her while she's at home.

You can get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348

For coronavirus breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the 9News app and set notifications to on at the App Store or Google Play.

Source: 9News

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