Gold Coast leaders largely welcome extension of border bubble zone

Gold Coast leaders have mixed reactions to the Queensland government’s decision to expand the border zone.

From October 1, five more local government areas in northern New South Wales will be added to the ‘bubble’, and will be able to come into Queensland.

While Queenslanders will be able to travel into the new areas as well.


Related article: Border bubble expanded as Qld records no new COVID cases

It’s welcome news for a struggling Gold Coast tourism economy, particularly on the southern end, which is finally able to welcome back more people.

President of Greater Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce Hilary Jacobs told myGC businesses have been crying out for more visitors, and this is a small but good step in the right direction.

“This is very welcome news, especially in time for the second week of the holidays.

“I think the chamber’s made it’s position very clear, we’ve believed all along that there should not have been a border closures.

“And certainly the border bubble has been probably worse than we would have hoped it could have been… complications around people having to renew passes each week, the fact that people living in the bubble weren’t permitted to travel outside of  the bubble within their own state,” Ms Jacobs said.

Ms Jacobs says the success of these new restrictions will hang on the mechanics of the border pass system, which has ultimately been a failure for the region.

“The weekly border pass hasn’t appeared to be taken up by a lot of the people and the residents within the area, certainly there are less people now that appear to be crossing the border than there were, from the local community which is a disappointment to the local businesses.

“And we’ll be very pleased to see more of those people able to coming across if the pass system because more simple because of this,” Ms Jacobs said.

While trades businesses are also welcoming the news, with many tradies stranded on either side of the line these past few months.

John Duncalfe from Master Builder’s Association told myGC the hard closures have had huge impacts, and would have brought many companies to the brink of financial ruin if they’d continued much longer.

“This is all that master builders has been asking for, is to be able to allow workers to go to areas like Ballina and Byron Bay.

“If it had continued for another two to three weeks, we would have seen builders on both side of the border, that have jobs in the northern rivers area, that would actually go into financial stress.

“This is a massive relief now, to allow those builders to get on with the actual work,” Mr Duncalfe said.

Related article: Border bubble expanded as Qld records no new COVID cases

But not everyone has been quick to welcome the new easing of restrictions, with local LNP members still saying it should have happened long ago.

“It is such welcome news, and to be honest it is about bloody time, we have been fighting for this in my community,” Member for Currumbin Laura Gerber told myGC.

“So many people have lost their jobs and have been suffering under the current restrictions,” she said.

While on a federal level, the Member for McPherson Karen Andrews has told myGC this whole announcement smells of politics, and it’s just not on.

“My concern, and the ones that I hear all the time from people, is that this is just about the Queensland state government playing politics with people’s lives and livelihoods.

“And there was always a chance that the borders were going to be reopened in the lead up to the election and here we are now,” Ms McPherson said.

Meantime, over the border, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has briefly welcomed the news.

It comes as South Australia prepares to completely lift their borders to New South Wales on Thursday, a measure that Premier Berejiklian says Queensland should be taking as well.

“I feel, given where we are in the pandemic, given that people do want to plan ahead for the school holidays but also for Christmas and reuniting with family, I would like to see that border come down entirely, and I’ve made that position pretty clear.

“Given where we are and given our capacity to be able to deal with community transmission, I don’t feel that borders – apart from the Victorian border because of the unique situation in Victoria – I don’t feel that any other border should exist around the nation,” Premier Berejiklian said.

Related article: South Australia to open borders to New South Wales