‘Not practical’ to close border at short notice

 

THE Gold Coast's airport chief has drawn a line in the sand against any moves to close the borders into Queensland stating a short notice change is "not practical".

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday again said she would have no hesitation to reinstate the hard border for the state should COVID-19 outbreaks rampant in Victoria and slowly building in NSW head north.

But Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said the impact of such a move would be detrimental.

"We support the border staying open, with control measures in place and ongoing review and management of the situation," Mr Mills said..

"As the gateway to this region, our role is to facilitate activity which supports the local economy.

"We understand that the Premier and Prime Minister are making difficult decisions with the best advice available, and that everyone is doing their bit to stay safe and support business."

The Coolangatta terminal has reported a passenger number increase since the border was reopened earlier this month, but business was still down by 90 per cent on last year.

It had been a dire 99 per cent slump when the border was closed.

GOLD COAST BUSINESS SHIFT ON BORDER CLOSURE

Queensland Aircorp Limited CEO Chris Mills in an empty Gold Coast Airport check in area. Photo Scott Powick Newscorp
Queensland Aircorp Limited CEO Chris Mills in an empty Gold Coast Airport check in area. Photo Scott Powick Newscorp

"We saw more passengers in the first five days after the border opened on July 10 than we saw in the three months prior to that," Mr Mills said.

"Our network is being re-established, with flights to Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and Newcastle currently running, with Townsville returning from Sunday.

"But we are still only facilitating 10 per cent of the passengers we recorded this time last year. This has major implications for the local businesses and tourism industry we support.

"The ongoing uncertainty is challenging - opening and closing the border at short notice is not practical.

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"We hope the Queensland Government can continue to implement measures that are more targeted and specific, rather than just going back to a border closure.

"We are continuing to work closely with authorities and to follow their directions. We have introduced a range of hygiene and communication measures throughout the terminal to help keep our passengers safe."

His comments come after Gold Coast Central Chamber president Martin Hall said a closure would be a backwards step and urged the city and state to adopt a learn-to-live-with-it approach.

Small bar operators were divided, with several saying they would rather they could stay open and trade if the border shut - rather than risk having to close altogether.

Originally published as 'Not practical' to close border at short notice


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