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Bold plan to open borders on July 10... for some

QUEENSLAND borders would be thrown open to the country on July 10, with only Melbourne passengers put through a two-week quarantine, under a bold plan to revive the state's economy.

Ahead of today's critical National Cabinet meeting, Queensland Airports - which operates Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports - is proposing to work with the State Government to open up the state while taking measures to keep Queenslanders safe from the Victorian outbreak. 

Under the proposal, as well as a two-week quarantine for Victorian passengers, Melbourne flights would be managed through separate parts of airports away from other travellers.

Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills in an empty Gold Coast Airport check in area. He is proposing a plan to reopen the borders. Picture: Scott Powick
Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills in an empty Gold Coast Airport check in area. He is proposing a plan to reopen the borders. Picture: Scott Powick

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to urge state premiers to reopen borders as planned, saying it can't be a "stop-go, stop-go" approach to reactivating the country.

There is some hope from the Federal Government that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will reopen the borders on July 10, if appropriate measures are in place to keep Melbourne's outbreak contained. 

But it is acknowledged the state could follow the WA path of keeping borders shut but easing restrictions within. 

Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills said many key safety measures were already in place at airports, and more can be readily implemented as required to enable travel to restart.

Mr Mills said airports were keen to work with the government to do what is needed to prevent a delay to the July 10 reopening, which would put tens of thousands of jobs put at risk. 

"Rather than make an arbitrary decision to push it back a month, the Premier has an opportunity to work with the airports and airlines to come up with a plan to get things moving and minimise risk," he said.

He said imposing a quarantine on Victoria, or Melbourne, would enable travel to reopen and act as a natural deterrent for Victorian travellers.

"The easy option is to say let's defer it. But it would negate all the hard work the other states, including Queensland, have put in place," Mr Mills said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles yesterday suggested that a travel bubble was an unlikely scenario.

"The Prime Minister has indicated that he would prefer not to see travel bubbles like that and that's for good reason," he said.

Mr Morrison said Australians would have to "live alongside COVID" and continued to push for a reopening.

"We have systems in place to deal with outbreaks. We have to keep forging ahead and do that together," he said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says a travel bubble is an unlikely scenario. Picture: Attila Csaszar
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says a travel bubble is an unlikely scenario. Picture: Attila Csaszar

Every Gold Coast LNP MP, both state and federal, issued a united call for the Premier to set a firm date for borders to reopen.

"Without certainty on reopening the Gold Coast, we'll lose our businesses and the jobs that come with them," the 14 MPs said in a joint statement.

Hotel quarantine arrangements, which are being investigated as a weak spot as part of the Melbourne outbreak, will be up for discussion at National Cabinet today, as well as the return of international students. 

An unprecedented containment regime has been put in place in Melbourne, with 50 per cent of residents in 10 hotspot suburbs being tested. 

Geographical lockdowns of those suburbs are not yet being put forward.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said they wanted the Government to continue with its road map - which says the state will open to interstate travel on July 10 subject to review.

"We're looking for a boost of optimism," he said.

"Our industry is hanging on for dear life."

 

 

 

Originally published as Bold plan to open borders on July 10... for some



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