Ongoing border closures imposed by Queensland on New South Wales are set, at least for the moment, to come to an end.
Following a recommendation from Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, the state will reopen to all of New South Wales at 1am on Monday, 1 February.
The move comes with no supposed Covid hot spots currently declared in the country.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said authorities were working overtime to ensure a smooth border re-opening from next week.
“It has been a really, really long haul and it has been tough on everybody, but I have always maintained I’ve got to keep Queenslanders safe,” she said.
“Now that the Chief Health Officer has recommended it’s safe for Greater Sydney residents to come to Queensland, the borders can come down,” continued Palaszczuk.
“We understand how tough border measures have been, but it’s all about keeping Queenslanders safe.
“People have done a terrific job looking after each other through the pandemic and now Queensland is good to go.
“I want to encourage anyone in New South Wales who is thinking about having a holiday, come up to Queensland.”
Palaszczuk came under fire this week after requesting Federal assistance for Queensland’s ailing tourism industry which has been hardest hit by border restrictions.
The Morrison Government has been asked to extend JobKeeper for the state’s struggling tourism industry which according to Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s chief executive officer, Mark Olsen, is losing more than $6 million a day.
“We would normally be welcoming more than 3,500 international visitors a day at this time of year so we need to drive demand,” he said.
“We are facing a crisis of confidence so today is a good start, but the next three months are absolutely vital to our region.”
Queensland has shut its border on three separate occasions to NSW during the past nine months and made 21 variations to the border rules since the outbreak of Covid-19.
On the previous two occasions Queensland opened its border to Sydney, where it generates its most tourists, it lasted less than a month before new cases were have said to have emerged prompting it to shut down again.
Further criticism has been levelled at Palaszczuk after it was revealed that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was not informed of the decision by Queensland Government but learned of it through a Sydney radio host.