Queensland will decide whether to reopen its border to New South Wales travellers at the end of the month.
However, Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles claims that the Berejiklian government has “effectively given up on the goal of 28 days of no unlinked community transmission”.
A major condition for Queensland to open to NSW visitors and returned travellers was that the state record no unlinked community transmission of the coronavirus for 28 consecutive days.
The NSW Premier, along with the state’s Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, have both described this condition as unrealistic. Over the weekend, Premier Berejiklian said she took offence to Miles’ comments.
“I find that comment really offensive to be honest,” Berejiklian told the press, via ABC News.
“Our aim has always been to have zero community transmission. That’s why all of us work day and night, and have been battling for months and months to get to that aspiration.
“The other question is, is it realistic for 28 days, in a state the size of NSW, when we have an open economy? I would say that’s a very high benchmark.”
Unsurprisingly, Miles returned serve, saying Queensland “will not be lectured to by NSW”.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said authorities would need to “wait a bit longer” to decide whether to open the border between the states.
However, she said it was still planned to open on 1 November.
She added that NSW had “extremely good” contact tracing capability and that authorities would continue to monitor the situation south of the border.
“We use that 28 days of no unlinked community cases to assist us in determining whether it’s safe at that point in time, at the end of the month, to open to another state,” she told the press. “That has stood us very, very well in Queensland.”
The latest tit-for-tat between the states came as Queensland on Saturday reached 28 days without community transmission.
It also comes after a Sydney nurse tested positive for coronavirus as NSW recorded an additional five community cases on Friday. The Australian Associated Press (AAP) noted this could increase the likelihood the border clock will be reset.
However, the nurse and a linked case were reportedly the only new locally acquired cases recorded by NSW Health on Saturday morning.
According to the AAP, Prime Minister Scott Morrison took aim at the border closure on the state election campaign trail on Saturday.
He also suggested it was being kept shut longer than “absolutely necessary” and reportedly accused Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of boasting about the closure.
“You would only have borders in for as long as you absolutely have to have them,” Morrison said.
“They are not something I suppose to boast of, they are things that are necessary, but are regrettably necessary in many occasions.
“So when you have to have them, well, let’s have them based on medical advice and for only as long as you absolutely have to, because the longer they are there, the more they do stop jobs.”
Furthermore, the PM called for Queensland to ensure quarantine rules were clear and consistent.
His comments came just a day after Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese accused him of border hypocrisy.
The federal Labor Party leader said that while the PM had criticised Labor-run states like Queensland and WA he has not said anything about Tasmania, which has a Liberal government, the AAP reported.
Featured image source: iStock/zstockphotos