Tweed MP Geoff Provest
Tweed MP Geoff Provest Rick Koenig

STATE OF CONFUSION: Tweed MP slams border closure

THE Member for Tweed has slammed the Queensland Premier's declaration the state's borders will be closed as of midnight Wednesday.

The drastic measure is the latest in the government's steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus after a record number of patients were confirmed in Queensland in 24 hours.

Geoff Provest was blindsided by the tweet Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sent out this afternoon and has criticised the lack of information about the border closure.

He said he was disappointed and deeply concerned about workers who lived either side of the border who have been left in a state of confusion.

"About 25 per cent of patients at The Tweed Hospital are from Queensland," he said.

"And 30 per cent of Tweed's residents work in Queensland and 15 per cent of our children attend school there.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest. Rick Koenig

"It is totally irresponsible of the Queensland Premier to come out with that announcement without details or a way forward."

Mr Provest said he had confirmed with the NSW Premier the border would not be closed at Barneys Point Bridge, which is in NSW, instead it would be shut on Queensland turf.

"I believe it is an agenda item to come up shortly and be discussed at the National Cabinet and I look forward to the outcome," he said.

"Half our medical staff, council staff and police force live in Queensland and there are no details - will they be able to travel or not?  

"At the end of the day, we are all Australians and we should be working together to get over this crisis, but this announcement has caused a massive amount of concern and undue stress for people who already suffering.

"How are they going to enforce it? Are they going to put barbed wire across the main street of Coolangatta?"

LOCAL MPs LOOKING FOR ANSWERS

QUESTIONS about cross-border specialist health treatment has been at the top of Lismore MP Janelle Saffin's list of priorities this afternoon.

The local member, whose electorate includes the Murwillumbah region, said specific information was yet to be provided on the Queensland Premier's announcement the sunshine state would be closing its borders later this week.

Ms Saffin said she has sent inquiries to the Health Minister as well as the Agriculture Minister seeking more information about how the development affects locals.

Ms Saffin confirmed she'd received calls from residents about health access, food and agriculture. She was also asked 'what is a non-essential service?'  

"I remain fighting for us, and we must do everything we can to slow down this virus, something that we have not faced before," Ms Saffin said.

Federal MP for Richmond Justine Elliot said she had been inundated with calls from concerned locals but had limited information to give them.

"I will update locals with more details as soon as we have them," she said.

"I encourage any members of the community who need help to please call my office on 07 55 234 371 or email me at justine.elliot.mp@aph.gov.au"

"Please stay safe - we're all in this together."  



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