It’s great to hear the Queensland Government will be reopening its border to people from Sydney and Victoria starting December 1.
The decision will not only reunite families but also provide much needed income for the state’s tourism businesses, ravaged by the strict border bans.
Qantas and Jetstar have already announced it will be adding an extra 1200 return flights into Queensland from New South Wales and Victoria in the lead up to Christmas, following the announcement.
“From 1 December, the two airlines will operate more than 250 return flights per week across seven routes from Sydney, compared with just 36 return flights per week currently (plus) more than 160 flights per week from Melbourne,” the Qantas Group said in a media statement.
Virgin will also dramatically increase its services.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said , “this is news that many families have been waiting so long to hear” and “on behalf of tourism operators across all three states, we thank the Queensland Government and Premier Palaszczuk.”
But he stressed that the ad hoc approach to border openings and closures must be addressed.
“Australia as a whole needs certainty about state borders staying open, particularly when the testing and tracing framework is now so well established. We renew our calls for a consistent set of rules that apply nationwide.”
In announcing the Victorian border opening today, Queensland Premier Palaszczuk either could not or would not say what the threshold is for future border closures.
Any decisions would be based on advice from the Chief Health Officer, the ABC reported.
“The threshold will be that we will go to a hotspot regime, which is what we have done in the past,” she said.
“We’ve had a High Court case which said very clearly that states do have the option to close borders to protect the health of their citizens.
“Let’s hope, fingers crossed, that that won’t happen, let’s absolutely hope that families can get together with families over this Christmas period.
Fingers crossed? That’s not good enough.
People need certainty, otherwise why would you book a flight or hotel any more than one or two days out?
The risk is just too high. Queensland has track record in opening borders and then closing them again without revealing specific benchmarks.
This in turn impacts the entire economy with the travel industry once again in the front line.
So while it’s great news that Queensland’s borders will be open to Australia’s two largest economies from December 1, the future remains clouded in uncertainty.