BORDER OPEN: Queensland welcomes back the Clarence
TODAY the Queensland Government made the long-overdue announcement many in the Clarence Valley has been waiting for: the NSW-Queensland border will be open for us next week.
While 32 local government areas around Sydney will have to wait their turn for entry into the Sunshine State, people from the Clarence Valley will be able to cross the border from 1am, November 3.
Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis said the Queensland Labor Government's decision to add the Clarence Valley and other NSW local government areas outside greater Sydney to its border bubble is welcome news for both sides, but has come much later than it should have and still involves unnecessary red tape.
"The Clarence Valley has a far cleaner COVID-19 record than Queensland, so it was always ridiculous to ban locals from visiting Brisbane and the Gold Coast," Mr Gulaptis said.
"Because the 32 LGAs in Sydney are still excluded, Clarence and Richmond Valley motorists will still be forced to download, complete and display border permits and face often lengthy queues at the border.
"It has caused untold grief for hospital patients and families wanting to visit loved ones as well as unnecessary economic harm to small businesses on both sides of the state line.
"In fact the whole border closure was clearly election politics rather than science as claimed by Queensland Labor. The Clarence hasn't banned visitors from Sydney and we haven't any cases for months."
Mr Gulaptis said he knew of at least one constituent who wanted a short break on the Gold Coast but had to stay at Twin Towns, a resort so close to the border that she could see the Queensland police border checks.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the latest expansion of the Queensland border bubble was welcome news, but said the motive to keep the border closed was clearly political.
"While I welcome the inclusion of our entire region, a lot of damage was done for no reason, except as a political stunt," he said.
"This is not a coincidence on the day before an election. This harsh border closure has caused real heartache across our community - people have missed funerals, weddings, medical appointments and many other important events.
"Businesses and our supply chains have also been severely impacted commercially.
"I have critisiced this border closure since the beginning, as it was never recommended by the Chief Health Officer."