Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has expressed his disappointment that New South Wales has rejected a push to move border checkpoints further south.
The State Government yesterday gave leaders over the border 24 hours to agree to a plan to temporarily shift the border to the Tweed River in a bid to assist NSW and Queensland residents who reside in the Coolangatta-Tweed area.
But it was quickly shut down by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who strongly confirmed it would not be happening.
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Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mayor Tom Tate criticised what he described as a “lack of compassion” for people in the Tweed.
“If you’re not going to be compassionate about it, and you’re not coming up with an alternative plan… I mean we’re fine over here that’s the thing, we’re putting this forward not because we need to, it’s because we care about people of the Tweed,” Mayor Tate said.
“All I’m saying is adopt the same attitude and lets have a solution so that people in Tweed can have a good livelihood – so people can have work, they can cross the border seamlessly”.
The current tough border lockdown has seen hundreds of teachers, child care workers, medical staff and tradespeople unable to cross into Queensland, with the Mayor pleading for leaders to come up with a Plan B.
“We have zero community transmissions in our city and my understanding is that there are zero community transmissions in that immediate Tweed community,’’ Mayor Tate said.
“I am approaching this issue from a compassionate point of view and I know that by creating a Covid Border at Tweed River, and still applying rigid community Covid testing, would be a compassionate way to help these people who are really doing it tough.”
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles also backed the Mayor’s comments, describing the rejection to move the border south as disappointing.
“We asked for that accommodation because it would make our job a lot easier and make the lives of those living in those border communities much easier,” Minister Miles said.
“But I also understand New South Wales not wanting to do that… They’ve made that decision, it is disappointing, but it is understandable.”