A Gold Coast MP has accused the State Government of using border closures as a political tool.
But Laura Gerber insists the LNP would not rush to reopen the borders if it wins next week’s state election, and would be guided by the advice of the Chief Health Officer.
Ms Gerber is battling to hang onto the marginal seat of Currumbin on the southern Gold Coast, hit hard by Queensland’s border closure.
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She told a Newscorp online election debate that the border closures have gone too far and the Gold Coast is missing out as a result.
“It’s not good enough that our borders have been politicised in this way. It’s not good enough that borders have been closed when it hasn’t been necessary,” Ms Gerber said.
“Look at the ACT as an example of that. The border was closed for 48 days with no community transmission as a total political tool.
“We need to be seeing more consistency with our borders, we need to be seeing an approach that is far more balanced in the decision making that is happening right now on our borders.”
The State Government has been critical of the LNP’s previous calls for borders to reopen, but the party has now tempered its demands as we approach the election.
Ms Gerber says the LNP would only reopen the state’s borders if medical experts gave it the green light.
“If the health advice says it is safe to open the borders, we will do that. We will not treat our borders like a political tool in a re-election campaign.”
Labor candidate Kaylee Campradt concedes the border closures have had a big impact on the southern Gold Coast, but has defended the government’s response.
“There’s no doubt that COVID has hit our tourism sector very hard and of course we’re feeling that here on the southern Gold Coast, but I also think things are starting to turn around,” Ms Campradt told the Newscorp debate.
“We’re having a slow recovery, but we’re recovering and we’re able to do that because we have put the health needs of our community first and that’s just so important.
“I think we’re having a good response and a good recovery. There’s more to be done but we’re getting there.”
One Nation candidate Glen Wadsworth told the debate that he would not hesitate to reopen borders straight away.
“I’m not a fan of them being closed. I think this whole COVID thing has exposed the various levels of government madness that goes on in this country,” Mr Wadsworth said.
“We seem to have too many levels of government and too many fools running it to be honest, so open the borders, let people have a crack and let them earn a quid.
Greens candidate Peter Burgoyne says his party would also follow the medical advice but has called for a more ‘nuanced’ approach to border closures.
“Health comes first but we also have to make a living,” Dr Burgoyne said.
“We want to enable people to come from an area that does not have active cases of infection to be able to come here.
“We do need to have people coming here and staying here because that’s the lifeblood of the Gold Coast economy.”