A Queensland Police car sits on the border of NSW and Queensland on the M1 Highway at Bilinga near Gold Coast Airport. Photo: Scott Powick
A Queensland Police car sits on the border of NSW and Queensland on the M1 Highway at Bilinga near Gold Coast Airport. Photo: Scott Powick

BORDER CLOSURE: What it really means for us in Northern NSW

WHILE positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) skyrocket in northern NSW, residents will be locked out of casual visits to Queensland for the first time in more than 100 years from Wednesday.

This will mean Northern Rivers residents can't duck to the Gold Coast for a shopping trip amid the ongoing pandemic.

But Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has clarified exemptions to the border closure will include freight, emergency vehicles, emergency workers, those travelling to and from work, court orders including from the family court, compassionate grounds and travel for medical treatments.

Measures take effect from midnight and will apply to travellers arriving by any means.

Penalties will include fines of up to $13,345.

It's expected there will be police checks on major highways.

In a statement, Ms Palaszczuk said the move was "essential to slow the spread of coronavirus", based on advice from the chief health officer.

Non-exempt visitors to Queensland will need to be quarantined for 14 days.

Business NSW Northern Rivers regional manager Jane Laverty said Queensland's exemptions on certain travellers would mean significantly less impact for employers and employees alike.

"The freight impacts all of our businesses here, especially those that head through to the Brisbane ports," she said.

"That was their biggest concern … but that seems to be all sorted."

Ms Laverty said others were also concerned about workforce availability when very few details came with the initial announcement on Monday.

She said a co-ordinated approach between the states would be ideal, particularly in heavily populated cross-border regions like the NSW North Coast and Gold Coast.

Broadly, Ms Laverty said the Northern Rivers economy would "feel the effects" of the pandemic "for some time".

But she said many businesses were already changing the ways they do things to keep trading as long as they can. Some are planning well into the future to scope out how they can rebound.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said she had been contacted by a number of constituents who'd expressed concerns about how the border closure would impact them.

This has included those worried about being unable to take supplied to elderly family members who are self-isolating or need to attend medical appointments.

Ms Smith said she contacted the Office of the NSW Cross Border Commissioner seeking further details of the closure but had not heard back from them.

It's understood Tweed MP Geoff Provest's office heard about the border closure via Twitter.

He told News Corp it was "totally irresponsible" for the Queensland government to release the initial announcement "without details or a way forward".

Mr Provest has expressed serious concerns about how the closure will work in the heavily populated border towns of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.



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