Qld election 2020: Border Restrictions

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has joined a chorus of angry business leaders slamming Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk over the “ridiculous” decision to lock out millions of Sydney residents.

Queensland hospitality and tourism leaders said not one job had been created by the easing of border restrictions and that she had placed a “chokehold” on tourism.

Ms Palaszczuk on Friday announced Queensland would welcome all of NSW, except the 4.8 million residents in Greater Sydney, from November 3, a move that has been slammed as “ridiculous” by the Qantas CEO.

“Sydney is the biggest city in Australia and it probably has one of the best track records globally of managing a virus that is clearly going to be with us for a very long time,” Mr Joyce said.

“Keeping the doors bolted to places that you can’t reasonably call hotspots makes no sense from a health perspective, and it’s doing a lot of social and economic damage as well.

“Queensland may find that by the time it does open up to Sydney, people have made other plans.”

While millions of Sydney residents remain locked out of Queensland, hundreds of thousands of regional NSW residents will be able to enter the sunshine state.

However, restrictions on the capacity of indoor venues remain, meaning that more people will effectively be shut-out of clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants, says Queensland Hotels Association boss Bernie Hogan.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is not popular with tourist operators after shutting out Greater Sydney while opening to the rest of NSW. Picture: Glenn HuntSource:AAP

Mr Hogan said their accommodation members would benefit slightly from the easing of border restrictions but the rest of the industry would suffer.

He said without increasing the indoor capacity of venues, which remains at 1 person per 4 sqm, then no jobs would be created and many businesses were doomed to fail.

“It’s a matter of ‘come to Queensland and join the queues’,” the QHA Chief Executive told NCA NewsWire.

“It’s an opportunity missed to encourage more people to be employed.

“Not one job was created today.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gscwhind says the festive tourism season has basically been lost because Sydney residents have been shut out of Qld. Picture: Attila CsaszarSource:News Corp Australia

Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gscwhind said shutting Sydney out was a body blow for tourist operators and many bookings would now be cancelled.

He said many would suffer because the Christmas holiday season was almost doomed given the next decision on border reopenings was not until November 30.

“This is certainly a blow to any travel plans for Christmas for interstate travel from NSW and the next decision, being November 30, that’s possibly the worst part of this,” Mr Gschwind told NCA NewsWire.

“If we want to rescue the interstate Christmas season for tourism we will need more certainty before then, so that’s a severe blow for our industry.”

He said all sectors of the tourism industry had played their role in containing coronavirus with no community transmission in recent months and that the government had failed to recognise their good work.

“We have managed ourselves exceptionally well, we have good practices in place and we thought it would be recognition of that and recognition of no transmissions in Queensland,” Mr Gschwind said.

“To have no easing of density restrictions is a chokehold on our industry.”

The deafening silence on easing indoor restrictions comes days after Mr Hogan and Clubs Queensland boss Kelly Egan had met this week with Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

The pair pleaded their case to have more patrons after showing they had followed hygiene and health protocols and having solid contact tracing registers.

Clubs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Kelly Egan says the government has no pathway strategy for the hospitality industry. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Queensland Hotels Association CEO Bernie Hogan says they will continue to fight for pubs and hotels to have be allowed to have more patrons inside venues. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Corp Australia

Clubs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Kelly Egan said they would not give up in pushing to be allowed to have more patrons which in turn would create more jobs.

He said the government had failed to provide any pathway under their recovery plans and that was problematic for the club industry.

“The next two stages of the COVID recovery don’t really have any opportunity for the hospitality to grow,” he said.

“We are trying to grow employment which is where the government says it wants to go and it would be great to have belief in their practices we have adhered to. ”

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