The Queensland government’s decision to ease some domestic travel restrictions doesn’t go far enough to give hope to Australians who want to get on with their lives and make plans for the future, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Just as NSW has demonstrated, there is no reason states cannot open back up if they have the right systems in place for tracking and tracing, local containment and quarantine.
“When states open back up again they start creating new jobs and give Australians the chance to get back to work.
“The cost of this border closure has been monumental. Reduced flights between Brisbane and Sydney airport alone have cost Australia’s economy $1.2 billion.
“The impact has been particularly acute in Queensland’s tourism and hospitality industries.
“Arbitrary border closures were a blunt weapon we needed to keep people safe in the early stages of the pandemic but they are unsustainable job killers.
“Queensland is desperately going to need the jobs that open borders and sensible risk management will create.
“It is an illusion that these restrictions will only have temporary effects. Every day that a business is shutdown, that customers are not coming through the door or that people can’t work is doing permanent damage and making it harder to recover.
"We must base these decisions on the strongest medical and scientific advice because they will have a massive impact on people’s lives and livelihoods for the long term.
“It is time for every state and territory to learn to live alongside this virus because every day of delay deepens the devastating social and economic harm this pandemic has caused.
“This will be devastating news to families hoping to reunite, for workers who need to cross borders to get to their jobs and for businesses looking towards the critical Christmas period.
“We need a highly-targeted, careful and gradual reopening of the national economy based on health advice with robust nationally consistent systems in place.
“Getting all of Australia’s domestic borders open again by Christmas would be a $3 billion gift to the nation.”