Residents living in border communities, and Queenslanders simply wanting to cross the border for Christmas holidays, are pleading for clarity around the State’s tough border restrictions.
From mid December, all interstate visitors, including those from the hotspots of New South Wales and Victoria, will once again be allowed into the sunshine state.
However, all travellers will need to meet a strict criteria – including they must be fully vaccinated and also return a negative PCR test 72 hours before crossing the border.
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It’s those restrictions that have left many scratching their heads, with Tweed residents who work in Queensland concerned that they will be forced to pay $150 for a test every three days just so they can cross the border.
Tweed Councillor James Owen is among those leading the calls to the Queensland Government to provide clarity and certainty with respect to testing requirements.
“Current advice from the QLD Government is that from 17 December, or when QLD reaches their 80% double dose vaccination target, whichever comes first, people will be able to enter QLD by road for any purpose, as long as they are double vaccinated and have received a negative COVID test in the previous 72 hours,” he said.
“Whilst I have reluctantly accepted that there will likely be no easing of restrictions prior to this December date, our community needs to know what things will look once it arrives.
“Will the vaccination and testing requirements apply to our border community?”
Dozens of Queenslanders who have booked holidays over the border for Christmas and New Year have also voiced their concerns.
“So if we holiday in Yamba over Christmas with kids and a few of their friends, maybe eight of us all up, all fully vaxxed, we’ll be up for $1200 to return home? That seems wild,” one person tweeted.
Cr Owen said he’s been dealing with an inundation of calls every single day and has pleaded for the Government to “show some compassion” and come up with a plan urgently.
“Tweed Shire residents must be exempted from having to have a COVID test to cross the border,” he said.
“Our border community has already suffered so much because of the disproportionate and draconian border restrictions that have been imposed on us by the QLD Government.
“They must have some plan so I’m calling for them to show some compassion and give us the answers, as a matter of urgency, to alleviate any further undue stress which our residents and businesses are currently experiencing.
“Provide us with the clarity and certainty that we need and which we deserve.”
Senior police on the Gold Coast have hinted that there could be changes on the way which will make crossing the border easier for those in the border zone.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman suggested there could be more clarity soon, but stopped short of providing any further details.
“What I will say is whilst there’s a lot of commentary going on, its really important to wait to get the advice from the direction and from the chief health officer around what the future state is around the border zone and what that will look like for residents.”
“I cant really comment at this time, but hopefully there will be some news soon,” he added.