Annastacia Palaszczuk attacked over closures

A Gold Coast tourist operator’s scathing letter to the Queensland Premier has been applauded by others in the industry, as continued border closures promise huge blows for tourism.

George Bournelis, a Coolangatta-based golf tour operator, estimated his business losses alone to sit at around $327,000, he told the Courier Mail.

In a lengthy letter to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the former microbiologist and frustrated business owner didn’t mince words.

“Can I ask what it is exactly you are waiting for before opening the borders. Is it an absolute nil rate?” he wrote.

“If so, please understand that this will never happen. We haven’t cured influenza, HIV, tuberculosis, whooping cough, rubella, polio and many, many other diseases that have been around for decades.’’

“COVID-19 will not be eradicated – ever. The best we can do is to control it.”

The Premier is yet to respond.

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The reopening of state borders has been a hotly debated issue in recent weeks, with many business owners like Mr Bournelis calling for border closures to be eased.

Allowing Australians to travel again, they argue, would not only bolster tourism and hospitality industries but also provide wider scope for employment in a nation already gripped by a catastrophic unemployment crisis. It is estimated not reopening the borders is reportedly costing 5000 jobs a week and $84 million a day.

Mr Morrison pointed out that the latest dire result was from the period just before COVID-19 restrictions began to ease and the economy began to restart.

“We need Australia open,” the PM told reporters in Canberra.

Chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy has continually insisted that there’s no good health reason for states and territories to keep their borders shut.

But Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania are holding firm, refusing to set a concrete timeline for reopening their jurisdictions despite the significant economic consequences.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has tentatively indicated a date of July 10 for reopening the borders, but hinted it could change if there’s a spike in new infections.

“June is Queensland open for Queenslanders,” she said. “July will definitely see more of Queensland opening up … so I expect to see more people if our health response continues as it is.”

Earlier this week, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced his state would open borders with Western Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania. It sparked a war of words with Victorian Premier Dan Andrews after the apparent snub of Victoria. That state has seen a recent rise in coronavirus cases, sparking fears of a second wave.

– with wires

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