Update: ‘We Welcome You’: Queensland to Reopen Border to NSW, Victoria Before Christmas

Update: ‘We Welcome You’: Queensland to Reopen Border to NSW, Victoria Before Christmas
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks during a press conference in Brisbane, Australia on June 16, 2020. (Jono Searle/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Update: The Queensland government will reopen the border to Victoria on Dec. 1. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the change on Wednesday after the southern state went 28 days without an unlinked case of community coronavirus transmission.

It follows her announcement on Tuesday that the New South Wales border would open on Dec. 1

“Can I say to New South Wales, we welcome you to Queensland from the first of December,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s been 28 days since New South Wales had an unlinked case,” Palaszczuk wrote on Facebook. “We know how tough this has been on families, it’s wonderful news. Thanks to everyone’s hard work to keep safe, Queensland is good to go.”

The premier may also reopen the border to Victoria at the same time. “All going well, Victoria will pass the 28 days tomorrow, and we’ll be able to reopen to them, too,” she wrote on Facebook.

Palaszczuk had previously declared that Queensland’s border would remain firmly closed to states with CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus (novel coronavirus) hotspots until they went 28 days without a new case.

But on Tuesday the premier said Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young was satisfied that New South Wales had passed the milestone.

The premier said her government has been in contact with her state counterparts. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that Palaszczuk had contacted her, saying it was the “best phone call I have had in ages.”

“Pleased to hear from [Premier Annastaia Palaszczuk] the Queensland/NSW border will come down on 1 December!” she wrote on Twitter.

“I hope this is welcome news,” Palaszczuk said. “I think it’s great news in the lead up to Christmas.”

The premier said her government had been in touch with airlines so that they can plan to provide services for travellers, and said that she wants to see Queensland’s tourism industry prosper.

The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) said in a statement on Tuesday the news will provide some confidence to businesses impacted by the border closure in the lead up to Christmas.

“We look forward to having the Victoria decision being confirmed tomorrow, and for a decision on South Australia to be announced as soon as possible, so Queensland businesses can gear up and enjoy a bumper Christmas period,” policy manager Amanda Rohan said.

CCIQ has also called on the Palaszczuk government to help the state’s struggling business in the next month’s budget.

“It’s been a tough year, so it would be great to end it on a note that will see business invigorated through further tax relief, and incoming financial support and schemes which will see them able to stand solidly on their own when the stimulus support comes to an ends,” Rohan said.

The premier cautioned Queenslanders to continue to observe social distancing and hygiene practices.

As of publishing, Queensland Health had not yet updated its official advice on the border reopening. A border declaration pass is required to cross into Queensland.