Border reopening welcome news for Southern Downs tourism
AFTER months of uncertainty and financial loss, local tourism has rejoiced following the premier’s confirmation of an imminent border reopening.
As of Friday, Queensland is set to reopen to the rest of the country from July 10.
The date follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s declaration that Queensland had nominated “a date for the opening of that border in Queensland” in July.
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s office later confirmed to press the border would reopen on July 10, pending a review of medical advice at the end of the month.
For owners of Rose City Caravan Park, Michelle and Darren Cox any revision to the current closures were welcome.
While prominent events such as Jumpers and Jazz were cancelled, the park still remained a popular point for overnight visitors from NSW — until closures.
“Warwick is not a destination town like other places but it is an important town for people stopping on their way through,” Mrs Cox said.
“When you come over the border, we are your first port of call.”
For the pair, it was another small gain, following last week’s relaxation on a Queensland travel lockdown.
“I have seen quite an increase since the movement restriction … A lot more people are booking and turning up,” Mrs Cox said.
“Before it was hard. We’re very very fortunate we have long-termers because that’s what kept us in business.
“Otherwise we’d have had to close doors and I’d question whether we’d be able to open them again.”
In the Goondiwindi region, owner of OK Milk Bar Janelle Faulkner said a reopening would dramatically improve trade which had been affected in multiple ways.
“That border being closed stopped many travellers. Your locals support you but people travelling through keep you up,” she said.
With her milk bar located next to the Old Border Bridge, which had been closed due to the policing of borders, the store had seen a significant decrease in “convenience” consumers too.
“A lot of our morning trade come by if they’re going to work over the border but now they don’t seem to come past us as much,” Mrs Faulkner said.
“Coffee, breakfast — it does all add up.”
Still, while Mrs Faulkner welcomed the news for business, she was conflicted about the move personally.
“I can say business-wise (the Queensland government) should have definitely opened up sooner, but otherwise, Queensland has been so safe from coronavirus that I’m in two minds because with people moving from Victoria and NSW, there’s a higher chance to bring it through,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk last month had indicated that the borders could remain closed until September.