Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie has urged the Queensland government to open the borders, or the state “will go broke.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, whose father Henry was a minister in Beattie’s government, has promised a decision on opening the borders by the end of the week.
Beattie told The Daily Telegraph that it pained him to make the remarks as a life-long Labor member.
“This can’t be on a state-by-state basis, we are a country after all, and frankly you’re just killing the economy, killing jobs and the economic devastation will be with us for years,” Beattie said.
He maintained that the borders needed to open to protect workers from a deeper recession.
“Frankly if we don’t open up then Australia’s going to go broke,” Beattie told ABC News 24 on Tuesday.
“It’s a fact. It’s not a political comment Liberal-Labor, you know whatever, this is about the future of jobs in this country.”
The former premier admitted temporarily closing the borders was necessary to “protect their citizenry” but that they had been “over cautious” and now was the time to “move on.”
“We’ve now got to become a nation and think about what’s good for Australia and what’s good for everyone,” Beattie said.
“Elections come and go, and governments come and go, but the pain of this will remain unless we get it right,” he concluded.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who is campaigning in Mackay, told reporters on Tuesday: “I will listen to the health advice to keep Queenslanders safe.”.
“That is my job. And you only have to look that our economy is open within Queensland,” said Palaszczuk.
The premier also noted that she was pleased to be able to see senior citizens in the sunshine state able to go out and about to enjoy things compared to those who are currently in Victoria.
Palaszczuk is expected to announce whether she will open up the Queensland borders at the end of the month, after she has received advice from Queensland chief health officer Dr. Jeanette Young.
Beattie wants Queensland to adopt the approach of New South Wales (NSW) style contact tracing, to isolate small areas, and to find an economical way to live with the virus.
“Whoever wins the Queensland election, whether it’s Annastacia or Deb Frecklington, whoever wins, they’re going to be faced with an economic tsunami, not a good one,” Beattie said.
“So they’ve got to work out how to go, so here what I’m saying is, okay what was done in the past, let’s give everyone a big tick for that.
“Let’s move forward and the way to move forward is to open up the borders, we have to do this as a country, not have state borders,” he said.