NSW Queensland border decision to be announced today

Business operators and political leaders have made last-minute pleas for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to reopen the border with NSW, with a decision due to be announced in hours.

Just a day out from the Queensland election, Ms Palaszczuk will make a call on whether to open the border with NSW from November 1.

Ms Palaszczuk had warned the preposed reopening date on November 1 would be pushed back if health advice suggested it wasn’t safe.

The premier said yesterday she hadn’t been given any early options ahead of today’s decision.

“That will come from the chief health officer. That’s the way the chief health officer works,” she said.

“It’s a matter for her. She will advise us and we will tell the public.”

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has repeatedly said NSW needed to achieve 28 days of zero community transmission for the border to safely reopen.

Three of the four cases recorded in NSW yesterday were the result of community transmission.

The Courier Mail is reporting Dr Young will likely recommend keeping the border closed.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will make a call on the NSW border today. Picture: Tertius PickardSource:News Corp Australia

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Ms Palaszuzck, who is seeking re-election when Queenslanders head to the polls tomorrow, has been criticised by business operators and political leaders over her hard line stance on borders.

This morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged Ms Palaszczuk to reopen the state.

“Make decisions on the basis of health advice and be transparent about it,” he told 2GB radio on Friday morning.

“It’s hard often to get a clear steer on what’s behind these decisions.

“Australia is opening up again, we’ve committed to having Australia fully open by Christmas and we need to move towards that.

“We can’t stay stuck in neutral. We’ve got to get going again.”

Mr Morrison’s call comes as business leaders and tourism chiefs make public pleas for the border to reopen hours ahead of the decision.

Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan told the ABC local hotels were only at 40 to 50 per cent capacity.

“We’re hoping that the Premier announces she’s going to open up the border, particularly from Sydney,” he said.

“We need that market, we need to get the industry going again.

Police check cars at the Queensland-NSW border at Coolangatta. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve HollandSource:News Corp Australia

“Please Premier, press the button. We need the borders open.

“The people in smaller attractions have been really hurt. The airport is really haemorrhaging, they’ve got virtually no flights so 97 per cent down.

“So overall our industry is really hurting badly.”

The boss of one of Queensland’s largest employers, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, fired off an extraordinary message after Health Minister Steven Miles said the state’s hospitality sector was doing well.

“Which world is this man living in,” the company’s chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said. “We are bleeding away.”

Wow!! @StevenJMiles just said hospitality sector is running as close to normal and doing better?? which world is this man living in. We are all bleeding away @GCS_Pottsy @keenatGCB @GCBulletin talk to operators to get a reality check!! #opentheborders #qldpoll @9NewsGoldCoast

Queensland Airports chief executive officer Chris Mills warned the future of 3000 tourism businesses and 41,000 jobs on the Gold Coast would be affected if the decision to reopen the border was delayed.

“We have seen good bookings for the flights from Sydney scheduled next week, and the first flight on Sunday is almost full – to turn them away at short notice would be a real blow to the Gold Coast’s recovery,” Mr Mills told the Courier Mail.

“We don’t understand why we have to wait until two days before the potential opening to find out what is happening. Airlines need time to schedule flights, travellers need to book with confidence, and employers need to be able to roster staff accordingly.”

Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills at an empty Gold Coast Airport. Picture: Scott PowickSource:Supplied

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called the closed border “frustrating” and said other states were lumping NSW in with Victoria.

“There is no reason why NSW residents shouldn’t be welcomed into other states,” she said.

“It has been, for myself and our agencies in NSW, an acute sense of frustration that a vast number of state premiers have chosen to lump NSW and Victoria in the same category over the course of the last few months.”

She said this week “games” over the border closure created a “very difficult time” for people in mid and northern NSW in particular.

“We have demonstrated our capacity to run a strong economy, but also to protect and keep the community safe. And I hope the Queensland Government accepts that they should too,” Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged her Queensland counterpart to reopen the border. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia

Ms Palaszczuk has also faced criticism from former Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie, who said Australia had a unique opportunity to fight the virus as a country, and not “on a state-by-state basis”.

“You saw what happened on Wall Street overnight, you saw the infection rates in Europe … this is a unique opportunity for Australia to come together as a nation and partner with fellow countries like New Zealand, some of the islands in the Pacific, maybe even Japan, to open up our economy for jobs for Australia,” Mr Beattie said on Tuesday.

“There is a loss in the major cities and that’s largely where our population is. We have to find ways to protect jobs in Australia, grow the economy, and open up.

“So, if Queensland wants to have a lot of people out of Sydney coming to put jobs in the Gold Coast, Cairns, Townsville, now is the time to change the strategy. No criticism of the past. This is about the future.”

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