Qld to open border to Vic, NSW next week

Queensland is looking forward to welcoming Victorians back into the state on December 1, the same day NSW residents will be able to visit again, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

The premier announced the change on Wednesday after Victoria went 28 days without an unlinked case of community coronavirus transmission.

It follows her announcement on Tuesday that the NSW border will open on December 1, meaning only visitors from Adelaide will still need to quarantine on arrival from Tuesday.

“Victoria will be good to go to come up to Queensland as well,” Ms Palaszczuk told Seven’s Sunrise program on Wednesday.

“So that’s absolutely wonderful news, congratulations to Daniel Andrews and his team down there, and to all of the Victorians, and we look forward to welcoming you to Queensland.

“And please stop by and say hello if you see me out and about during the holidays because it’s going to be wonderful.”

Virgin Australia, in which the state government holds an equity stake, said it will offer 38,000 extra seats on ramped up flights between Victoria and Queensland before Christmas.

General manager Russell Shaw said the border reopening will support jobs at Virgin, other airlines and the tourism industry while reuniting families with their loved ones in Victoria.

“We look forward to safely welcoming them back onboard as they return to Queensland to do business or to reunite with family and friends,” he said in a statement.

Ms Palaszczuk indicated she has also buried the hatchet with NSW Premier Glady Berejiklian, who has constantly criticised the border closure.

She brushed off her NSW counterpart’s barbs over previous months as “just Gladys being Gladys”.

“I expect that – I have always handled myself with dignity, and I will always put my state first, and she will always look after her state. That’s the way it is,” Ms Palaszcuk said.

“But, we will rub in the State of Origin.”

In the event of a future interstate outbreak, Queensland will impose restrictions on a specific geographical area under a hotspot regime instead of closing to an entire state.

The premier warned there was still a risk Queensland could go back into semi-lockdown if an unlinked case of coronavirus emerged in the community.

Ms Palaszczuk made particular reference to South Australia, which last week went into lockdown after a support worker at an Adelaide quarantine hotel contracted the virus, driving a new cluster in the city.

“I can’t predict the future,” she added.

Ms Palaszczuk stressed that every state’s hotel quarantine program needed to be “rock solid” to protect the health of the community.

She called on the federal government to be extremely careful when considering any changes to the country’s international borders.

“Australia is doing a great job, let’s get Australia to stay on course, let’s open up Australia for Australia,” she told Sunrise.

“But there is real danger in taking back into Australia too many overseas international arrivals if our quarantine systems cannot cope. I cannot be clearer on that.”

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