Travel Agents

Flight Centre boss demands proof of Queensland’s border closure advice

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has made a second request for the medical advice that the Queensland government relied on when it closed the state’s border.

The new request, lodged by the company this week, focuses on the decision to close the Queensland border in August, just weeks after it reopened.

It follows an earlier document request made by FCTG on 9 June and related to the government’s initial border closure in March.

FCTG has not received any documents relating to the March request, but has been advised that some documents could be made available by this Friday – almost five months after the initial request was lodged.

Under the legislation, the prescribed time for delivery of documents is five weeks or 25 business days.

FCTG supremo Graham “Skroo” Turner acknowledged that Queensland authorities did “an admirable job” in containing the first wave of the virus and in developing “first-class” testing and tracing capabilities.

“We also understand and support ongoing efforts to protect the citizens of Queensland, but believe that we and the people of Queensland have the right to understand the rationale – specifically, the science and the data – behind the decisions that have been made,” he said.

“Given the devastating impacts these decisions are having on community health, both mental and physical, and on the wider economy, we feel it is appropriate that the Queensland government shares the data and peer-reviewed scientific evidence it is relying on.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in travel, tourism and other sectors are out of work as a direct result of prolonged border closures and the impact on their families and their finances, as well as the economy and on society in general, is severe and will be long lasting.

“To date, the Queensland government has been unable or unwilling to provide information that we thought would be readily at hand, given it has apparently been the basis for the crucial decisions that have been made over the past seven months in relation to the border.

“The apparent lack of a tangible plan to sensibly and safely reopen borders as soon as possible, which is a position that the World Health Organization endorses, also raises questions about the credibility of any economic recovery plan.”

Currently, anyone can enter Queensland unless they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days, with Victoria and most of NSW the only two states considered hotspots.

Flight Centre boss Graham “Skroo” Turner will be speaking at the travel industry’s most thought-provoking conference, Travel DAZE 2020, next week. To find out more or to register, click here.

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