Queensland border remains closed, police checking cars as they cross the border. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Queensland border remains closed, police checking cars as they cross the border. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

GIVE US A DATE: Border uncertainty 'choking small business'

THE uncertainty surrounding the date for the Queensland border reopening has been slammed by a Tweed leader as "too little, too late".

The State Government and Prime Minister ended weeks of turmoil by confirming the ­sunshine state border would reopen on July 10, pending medical advice on Friday.

However Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk failed to provide certainty around a reopening, saying it would be reviewed at the end of the month.

Tweed Chamber of Commerce president Warren Polglase said the border call was "better than what we had ­before" but the tentative date was hurting local businesses at a time of year that was ­traditionally "bigger than Christmas".

 

Councillor Warren Polglase.
Councillor Warren Polglase.

 

Ms Palaszczuk originally announced July 10 as the date for interstate travel but caused widespread panic when September was spruiked as a "more realistic" date last week.

A July 10 opening will coincide with the second week of the NSW school holidays.

Mr Polglase, who is also a Tweed Shire councillor, explained the uncertainty affected bookings at the busiest time of year for the region.

"People now can't ring up to book accommodation or other tourism operators for certain during the holidays because they don't know if they will be able to come on July 1 or July 10," he said.

"Businesses also need warning to get staff back on and undertake the necessary COVID training - it all takes time.

"We need a definite date."

Mr Polglase explained southern Gold Coast businesses and those in the Tweed relied on each other.

"In the tourism industry, a border between us doesn't mean a thing," he said.

"Tourists might book to stay in the southern Gold Coast and come and do things in the Tweed and vice versa.

"There has got to be solid commitment, this 'maybe tomorrow' stuff is ridiculous, you can't run business on 'maybe tomorrow'.

"Small businesses are being choked to death and we need them to survive."

State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said it was ­"extremely detrimental" there was no guarantee of the timing of the reopening.

 

The Member for Tweed Geoff Provest. Photo: SCOTT POWICK
The Member for Tweed Geoff Provest. Photo: SCOTT POWICK

 

"I think (Ms Palaszczuk) is being pig-headed in her decision," he said.

"The border closure is costing money, it's all about the economy now and jobs.

"I am going off the advice of the NSW State Government medical officer and the Federal Government chief medical ­officer's advice, which is there is no health reason to have the border closed.

"Most mornings and afternoons there is at least at 45-minute delay getting across the border and 15 per cent of Tweed kids go to school in Queensland.

"The other downside is, until the borders are opened not much is happening at the Gold Coast Airport.

"It was the fifth-busiest ­airport in Australia …. and had well over 1000-odd ­people employed, with a big percentage of those from Tweed."

While he welcomed a date, Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce head Martin Hall said keeping borders closed during the start of the NSW school holidays and missing the Queensland holidays would deliver a "fatal blow" to businesses on the brink of financial ruin.

"It's disappointing to be honest and just another kick in the guts and definitely a fatal kick in the guts for many businesses on the Gold Coast," he said.

"We've got what we want, we've got a date but it's a little too late in the piece to be open after the school holidays. It's like a comedy of errors."

Last week, Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said the July date would be too late and would take the economy longer to recover.

"The airlines need certainty, and sufficient lead time to prepare to resume operations, and potential visitors need time to plan and book a Gold Coast holiday," Mr Mills said.

"Every day that goes by means flight schedules get pushed back, people book holidays elsewhere, and the Queensland economy takes longer to recover.

"It looks increasingly likely that we will miss out on the once-only opportunity for the school holiday uplift."



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