The row between NSW and Queensland over reopening state borders is souring after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her state won’t be “lectured to”.
The row between NSW and Queensland over reopening state borders is souring after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her state won't be "lectured to".
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has pushed for Queensland to relax the rules to allow interstate travellers to visit the Sunshine State for a holiday.
But Queensland insists the borders will remain closed until the southern states can bring their COVID-19 cases under control.
Today Ms Palaszczuk declared she won't bend to the demands from NSW, which has recorded 49 deaths from the virus - the highest in Australia - and is recording new cases daily.
"We're not going to be lectured to by a state that has the highest numbers in Australia," she said.
"I hope they get their community transmission under control because that means we will be able to open up sooner."
September has been touted as the month when Queensland could reopen but Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has warned it could be longer than that.
She wants to see two incubation periods of zero community transmission in NSW and Victoria – one month of zero cases – before she considers opening the borders.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey also weighed into the row, declaring the government won't take advice from NSW.
"We won't be lectured to by the worst performing state," he said.
"It's time for Gladys and the NSW Government to get their act together and start performing as well as Queensland has on the health front."
There were no new cases recorded in Queensland in the past 24 hours, keeping the state's total at 1058. There are 12 active cases remaining in the state.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the low infection rate is an "endorsement" of the state's strategy on easing restrictions.
Four people remain in hospital with the virus, with one of those receiving non-invasive ventilation.
Only 2889 tests were held yesterday, well below the target of 5000.
READ MORE: WHO reports largest number of cases - as countries ease restrictions
Ms Palaszczuk admitted there had been confusion over the school holiday restrictions, but that Queenslanders would be permitted to travel up to 250km.
"They can holiday in Queensland in their regional areas so I really want to encourage people as much as possible to start planning those holidays and support our tourism industry," she said.
The state government also announced the Ekka public holiday will move from Wednesday, August 12 to Friday, August 14.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones says the Ekka has been the time when the bush comes to the city and this year she wants to see the city go to a regional area.https://twitter.com/AnnastaciaMP/status/1263253638274666496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Meanwhile, Senator Pauline Hanson said she had engaged a pro bono constitutional lawyer to represent businesses affected by the border closure in a High Court challenge.
"It is unconstitutional for Premier Palaszczuk to close Queensland's border and her actions are causing me a great deal of concern for the economic viability of our state," Senator Hanson wrote on Facebook.
South Australia and Western Australia are taking a tough stance against the other states, refusing to bow to pressure to reopen.
President of the Australian Medical Association WA branch Dr Andrew Miller said it was premature to see borders reopening.
"We can get on with our economies in our individual states," Dr Miller told Today.
"Plenty of us haven't seen our own states even though we have been to Bali quite a few times.
"It's only been three days since we got back to school, since we reduced a lot of restrictions around cafes and so on. Give it a bit more time before we start talking about packing people into economy and flying five hours across the country."
He warned that doctors still don't know the full impact coronavirus has on the body, long term.
"We could easily be the UK or the US, it is the exactly the same disease," Dr Miller said.
"We don't yet have a solution for public transport. We don't have a solution how we will get people into lifts. I think the states have a lot to work out just yet. We also don't know the long-term consequences of surviving this disease."
Premier Mark McGowan likened NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to a bully for calling on states to scrap travel restrictions.
"It's odd. NSW is saying don't catch public transport in Sydney ... yet they're saying why can't NSW people fly to WA? The message is totally inconsistent," Mr McGowan said.
"We're not going to give in to that sort of bullying by the NSW premier or anyone else."
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said they were responding to "very firm advice" from state health authorities about its borders.
"They are part of keeping West Australians safe," he said.
"The interstate borders will stay (closed)."
Mr Cook said Ms Berejiklian's comments were "very unhelpful, to be frank".
In Victoria, regional tourism operators are calling for a restart date of June 1, when cafes, restaurants, and the dining section of pubs will reopen with limited capacity.
Since March nearly 70 per cent of tourism businesses have not been operational and more than two out of three say if they're closed for another three months, they fear they might not be able to re-open.
READ MORE: Regional travel ban lifted in NSW
Tasmania's borders remained closed to outsiders with no plans to reopen anytime soon and it's a move Senator Jacqui Lambie supports.
"We don't mind taking the money off you mainlanders, I'll be honest about that," Senator Lambie told Today on Thursday.
"We'd love to have you back down here again but, in the meantime, as soon as we are able to, I ask Tasmanians to support their local community, go back to the simple things in life and take your holidays in your state until we can start flying elsewhere."
In NSW, the regional travel ban will be lifted on June 1.
It comes as one of Australia's top health advisors has said there's little reason from a medical perspective to keep state borders closed during COVID-19.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said the Australian Health Protection and Principal Committee (AHPPC) has never advised a closure of state borders.
"From a medical point of view I can't see why the borders are still closed," said Professor Kelly on Wednesday.
"That's for the states and territories themselves to decided when that time is right for them."
He also agreed to meet with WA's premier after Mr McGowan said he did not know who he was.
"I don't know who Paul Kelly is, clearly not the singer," Mr McGowan said.
"[I'm] Happy to meet him any time, it might be a while for now depending on the border closures," Professor Kelly said.
"Just to let Mr McGowan know, I'm a proud West Australian."
Since the coronavirus pandemic worsened, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT have been the only jurisdictions not to close their borders and enforce two-week quarantine periods for those entering.
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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-state-borders-closed-premiers-clash-over-reopening-as-tourism-sector-suffers/eb2cb216-5eb3-40ee-bb55-378fc78cc884