Saturday, April 13, 2024

Goondiwindi Mayor slams Qld border direction as ‘inconsistent and punitive’

Goondiwindi Region Mayor, Lawrence Springborg AM, is calling on Queensland Health to fix the proposed Border Restrictions Direction 56 – Border Restrictions Direction (No. 56) | Queensland Health, labelling it “absolutely unsatisfactory”.

The proposed Queensland government border zone rules to come into effect from 1am Monday 13 December for border zone residents entering Queensland from the Moree Plains Shire Council local government area (restricted border zone) are inconsistent and punitive,” said the Mayor (pictured).

From Monday we will now have a situation where a Moree Plains Shire resident that is unvaccinated can come to Queensland to access shops and essential services, but a fully vaccinated worker from the Moree Plains Shire area won’t be permitted to serve them. 

Ironically the fully vaccinated Moree Plains person can shop for essentials, goods and services e.g: the local hardware store, however they are not permitted by Queensland Health to work at this same store. The situation created by this proposed new Directive does not make logical sense.”

Mayor Springborg says the restricted border zone status was having a significant and unfair impact on the highly vaccinated communities in the Moree Plains and Goondiwindi border zone.

There are fully vaccinated people on both sides of the border that havent been able to work for five weeks.  These people have no other source of income as the government assistance doesn’t exist unless they quit their job,” he said.

This also impacts most of our local businesses in the lead up to Christmas, as they continue to suffer with their every-day border zone clients not able to access their services and products. Residents need to able to get back to their lives and livelihoods.

I also want to point out that, as of this week [6 December 2021], the Goondiwindi Region is the first LGA in Queensland to reach over 90% of the population fully vaccinated – with 91.5% of residents having had both doses. The Moree Plains Shire LGA is 86.5% double-vaccinated – no other LGA in Queensland is higher, except Goondiwindi.

It is welcome news that the proposed regular PCR testing for those on X/XR border zone passes has been scrapped, but that makes little difference to our fully vaccinated border zone residents that still cant cross to work, shop freely or see family for Christmas. Especially when from next Monday, fully vaccinated people with a negative test from Sydney or Melbourne Hotspots can arrive in town to visit family and friends and have open access to our town.  Whereas, fully vaccinated friends and relatives only five minutes’ drive away cannot.

My thoughts are also with the Queensland Police Service personnel that are going to have to implement these confusing rules from Monday. 

Instead of simplifying, Queensland Health have managed to make it more complicated and has failed to provide appropriate recognition for those residents who have done what the government has requested of them and have been double vaccinated,” said the Mayor.

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