QUEENSLAND’S borders will reopen to NSW from December 1 and will likely reopen to Victoria on the same day.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the news as Queensland recorded one new case in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.
“Today I had a meeting with Dr Young … and Dr Young is now satisfied that they have reached the 28 days,” Ms Palaszczuk said on NSW.
“So can I say to NSW, we welcome you from December 1.
“We know how tough this has been on families. This is a great day, this is exciting news.”
Ms Palaszczuk said tomorrow would be the 28-day mark with no COVID community transfer in Victoria and Queensland would likely reopen to that state too on December 1.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said she would also continue to monitor the situation in South Australia.
Dr Young said despite no cases in the Queensland community, people still needed to continue to come forward for testing as there was an escalation of cases across the world.
“Any symptom anywhere in the state … please just come forward for testing,” she said.
“Because if we find the first case in an outbreak we don’t have to do all those close downs that no-one wants.”
Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland would need to see a “major outbreak” to close again and she would always take the advice of Dr Young.
She said that Australia looked to be moving to a hotspot definition now and the whole country would likely react together if there was a mass outbreak somewhere
“Everything is looking very good, very positive,” she said.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said Queensland had some of the lowest restrictions in the country.
“Our businesses are able to operate at double the capacity than in NSW,” she said.
There was also more people allowed in homes, concerts and sports stadiums.
She said that was because Queenslanders had done such a good job and must remain doing so.
Queenslanders are demanding the Government throw open the borders after it emerged New South Wales had already met Queensland’s 28-day threshold of no unlinked community transmission.
Greater Sydney could find out as early as today when the Sunshine State’s borders will reopen, with one of Queensland’s most influential business leaders saying now was the time to review the hard closures.
A survey of more than 1700 people on couriermail.com.au yesterday revealed 85 per cent wanted borders to reopen, as controversy surrounds the Government’s decision-making on the issue.
New South Wales recorded 30 days of no unlinked community transmission yesterday, trumping the necessary 28-day Queensland requirement.
However when NSW Health informed Queensland authorities at the weekend, it was told to wait another eight days before a decision would be made.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said yesterday the information had been conveyed to Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
“I understand that Dr Young will be speaking to Yvette (D’Ath, Health Minister) and I about that in a bit more detail tomorrow (Tuesday),” she said.
Asked whether there could be a border decision before the December 1 timeline as outlined in Queensland’s recovery road map, the Premier said, “Let’s see.”
“I think Victoria comes up to their 28 days on Friday so we’ll get the advice from Dr Young tomorrow,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said things were looking positive.
“The most positive I’ve seen this year so fingers crossed it continues that way,” she said.
“Our road map says first of December and I’m very encouraged that it will be a positive outcome for NSW and Victoria.”
She said she would also get advice about the situation in Adelaide.
It has been 16 days since NSW recorded a case of community transmission, while its last case that did not have a known source was on October 24.
Queensland recorded three new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, which were acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.
It comes as Wagner’s Group John Wagner, behind the Wellcamp Airport, praised Ms Palaszczuk for her health response but said it was time to look at opening up.
“As soon as the borders are open the better, for all concerned,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people that it’s hurting really badly.
“She’s done a good job in keeping us safe, but it needs to be reviewed.”
He said Sydney and Melbourne were the biggest markets for Wellcamp, but had no airlines to fly to either due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We have had a lot of inquiries asking when (Sydney and Melbourne) services at Wellcamp will resume because there’s a lot of people who want to get themselves organised for Christmas and the New year,” Mr Wagner said.
“The demand is there.
“We want to see it happening sooner than later.”
Mr Wagner said the restrictions had had a big financial impact daily, but that JobKeeper had allowed them to retain all staff.
“I do respect the decision of the government in keeping us safe, but I want to reiterate the sooner we can get travel happening again the better,” he said.
Wellcamp continues to operate, with two flights a week to Townsville, two flights a week to Cairns, seven flights with REX from Brisbane through to Mt Isa, as well as private jet traffic and international freight flights.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese backed Ms Palaszczuk as doing a “great job” on borders, while insisting he did not make partisan comments on the subject.
“No one wants to see restrictions in place, but restrictions have made Queensland safe,” he said.
“I want to be able to travel and I want Australians to be able to travel.
“I know Annastacia Palaszczuk does too.”
Tourism and Transport Forum boss Margy Osmond said NSW had business and community also back to normal, even with its borders now open to all states.
“It proves if you manage risk appropriately and keep your community really well informed and you have super contact tracing systems and you invest in them, you can manage this,” she said.
Ms Osmond said opening the borders to greater Sydney should be “at the top of the list”.
“At this point in time, barring any major issues or problems, we really need to see the Queensland border open in the first part of December,” she said.
“If for no other reason than to try and save the bacon of the tourism industry, particularly in northern Queensland, but also to allow people to reconnect with friends and family.”
“There’s an economic angle to this, but there’s a human and community angle as well.”
The tourism industry representative urged the National Cabinet to stick to a national rule for when borders open and shut to give businesses and families certainty.
Originally published as Time to open: Business leader joins COVID chorus