The Queensland government has released its much-anticipated reopening plan for interstate and international travel, but the new roadmap hasn’t gone down all that well with the state’s main airport.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Queensland government’s ‘COVID Vaccination Plan’ had been developed to unite families, protect Queenslanders and chart a course through the next stages of the pandemic.
Key features include greater freedoms for those who are fully vaccinated, including being able to cross the border from interstate hotspots in time for Christmas.
This will be achieved in stages once 70 and 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are double-dosed.
Premier Palaszczuk said how quickly these milestones are achieved depends on how quickly Queenslanders come forward to be vaccinated.
“It’s simple,” the Premier said.
“The more of us who are vaccinated, the sooner we are safely reunited with friends and family interstate and overseas.”
You can check out Queensland’s COVID roadmap in the below infographic:
The Queensland government has launched a week-long vax-a-thon urging residents to get the jab. Premier Palaszczuk and her ministers will visit key centres to encourage vaccinations especially in places where rates are low.
However, the reopening roadmap has been met with criticism from Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), which said that while it was pleasing to see a roadmap for the reopening of Queensland, the plan contained elements of “great concern” in relation to domestic and international arrivals.
“Clarification is needed on the determination of a domestic ‘hotspot’ once a community meets 80 per cent vaccination rates,” BAC said in a statement.
“It is widely accepted that COVID-19 case numbers will not decline to zero, so hotspot definitions cannot be based on case numbers for much longer.
“This clarity is essential if we are to understand how and when vaccinated interstate travellers will be able to return to Queensland without having to quarantine.
“Furthermore, pre-arrival testing, and the additional costs associated for travellers, will significantly dampen demand, as has been demonstrated in overseas markets that have already opened up.”
Under the Queensland government’s plan, the 90 per cent vaccination rate milestone is the only opportunity for non-Australian citizens to enter Queensland directly from overseas.
BAC said it was concerned that this threshold is significantly higher than the National Cabinet’s roadmap and other states’ roadmaps.
“It appears from the plan that while NSW, and likely Victoria, will be opening their international borders to vaccinated travellers with no requirement for quarantine, Queensland will still be imposing either home or hotel quarantine even after we meet the 80 per cent vaccinated population threshold,” it said.
“If a fully vaccinated traveller from Melbourne can come to Queensland and not be required to quarantine once we have reached the 80 per cent vaccinated population milestone, a fully vaccinated person from Los Angeles should also be able to come to Queensland and not be required to quarantine.”
BAC is worried that this will result in international airlines exiting the Queensland market for interstate destinations where they can operate without the impost of passenger caps.
“It would be an absolute tragedy, as it would take several years and significant investment to try and recover these airlines and services,” the airport said.
“This simply means Queensland will be uncompetitive from an aviation perspective and will kill demand for visitation.”
Featured image source: ABC News