‘Heartwrenching’: Gympie families caught up in border mess
A message from Gympie MP Tony Perrett:
LAST week, parliament rose for the last time before the election, three State ministers resigned, our state's economic outlook was shown up as dire, and there is rising palpable anger in the community about double standards over COVID-19 exemptions.
Decisions on restrictions and exemptions are ad hoc, contradictory, and smack of double standards.
People are baffled at one set of rules for some and another for others.
There's a pattern. We've already experienced chaotic, confusing, contradictory decisions when camping restrictions were reluctantly lifted on the Cooloola Coast.
The rhetoric doesn't match the reality.
Dreadful and heart wrenching situations are having an immense social and emotional toll.
My office has a steady stream of requests for help from people trying to visit terminally ill family members, attend funerals, split FIFO families, business owners who need to be on site at their businesses interstate, contradictory assessments for local agriculture business which prevented them accessing their livestock, employment seekers who are offered jobs interstate are frightened they'll not be able to come home for months.
Many of these applicants are coming from and going to COVID-free zones.
Gympie's cases are mounting.
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It's incredibly sad that a Gympie woman who died of cancer was buried without a single member of her family present - they weren't given an exemption.
A Gympie great grandmother was distressed because two of her great grandchildren who were flying unaccompanied were herded from the Brisbane transit lounge on to buses and put in quarantine on the Gold Coast.
Despite assurances from Queensland Health that the paperwork was correct, they had permits to enter the state, the compliance stated they were flying to north Queensland, arrangements were to wait for the connecting flight in the transit lounge, and the parent in Queensland had instructions on what to do when they arrived - it didn't happen that way.
These children are waiting it out in a Gold Coast motel room.
No one deserves this hypocrisy.
Last week we were told that funerals were high risk.
Yet in April, hundreds could attend a funeral in Mackay, for cultural reasons, when everyone else was allowed 10 - 30,000 will be allowed to attend a grand final.
There's one rule for football players, their entourages, celebrities, and people who put together a boxing ring for a match.
There's another rule for ordinary people whose families are being torn apart.
Those who can afford to break the rules can stay.
They can afford to come on a super yacht, get caught, wait it out in luxury accommodation, and pay the fine.
Those who aren't rich or famous miss out.
We cannot have one set of rules for "special" people and another for ordinary people.
We need consistency, compassion, and common sense.