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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Page MP demands border reopening as local mayors try diplomatic approach

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Paul Bibby

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan has again slammed the Queensland Premier’s decision to keep the borders closed, accusing her of ‘causing havoc’ for political gain.

As local mayors and general managers work behind the scenes to convince the Queensland Government to ease the restrictions, Mr Hogan is pursuing a somewhat less diplomatic path.

The NSW-Qld border check-point. Image supplied

‘Following extensive lobbying by the Premier, Queensland is now hosting the AFL Grand Final,’ Mr Hogan said.

‘Why is she happy to open the border for AFL footy players, but not for us from our COVID-free region?’

‘Our region has no community transmission of the virus. We are not a ‘hot spot’. There is nothing but heartache and damage being done to families health and livelihoods.”

‘This might be playing well for the QLD Premier politically in the short term, but this border closure is causing havoc.’

Mayoral effort

As thousands of north coast residents needing to cross the border for business, medical or family reasons continue to suffer, Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the mayors were quietly lobbying the QLD and NSW governments.

 They had also committed to writing a position paper on the issue.

‘The position is that we want the QLD government to consider reverting back to the border closure rules we had a few months ago,’ Cr Richardson told last week’s full Council meeting.

‘I was communicating with someone yesterday who has a business in Robina with a $4 million turnover, that he can’t access.

‘It provides building materials to the top 10 housing builders in the Northern Rivers that they now can’t access.’

Cr Richardson said that the group of mayors and GMs had come up with other options for easing the restrictions, including that the so-called ‘border bubble’ be extended to the northern border of Ballina.

It was also proposing intrastate travel restrictions to the border bubble areas from any NSW COVID-19 clusters, to protect rural and regional areas such as Byron Shire.

This would maintain the integrity of the border bubble and give confidence to QLD. The group was also calling on the NSW government to provide increased specialist medical services for northern NSW residents who couldn’t receive medical support – including dental care – in QLD.

If certain medical services couldn’t be provided, the government could assist residents by providing financial support so they could quarantine in QLD if they had to cross the border for essential treatment.

‘Basically, we want to write to all and sundry who have got potential positions of influence to get support for what we’re looking to do, to advocate,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘It’s not about creating any undue criticism. Governments of all persuasions are doing their best. 

‘If we can stay on good terms we’ve got a better chance of a good outcome.’

The efforts of the mayors and GMs received unanimous support from councillors.

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  1. I’ve already written in ‘letters’ that I have crossed the border
    5 times pre-virus for specialist procedures – heart & neuro –
    & now cannot travel when I am called back. Past experience
    allows usually 24 hours only for me to get to the John Flynn.
    The AFL Final? Get real. I haven’t a vote to cast for the QLD
    premier… but many relatives of mine have.

  2. When you’re right, you’re right Paul !
    Who does this Palasucks woman think she is ? Oh yeah, she’s the Premier of a state that doesn’t have much CV19, and does have enough medical facilities and industrial suppliers and assorted infrastructure as well as an environment safe enough for an AFL Grand Final and she’s not Kevin Hogan the Token National Party Minister for ?????!!!
    As a Labor Premier she is a disgrace, but stands ‘ head and shoulders’ above this minor party coalition rabble in NSW and Canberra , who’ve relied on the definitive action in Victoria, QLD, WA and NT, a few hail Mary’s and a bloody lot of luck to avoid the American experience,so far !
    I do agree with Kevin though, the idea of holding mass gatherings at sporting functions is as idiotic as Scumo’s insistence of a week end of Footy and Hill Song before the required restrictions were implemented, at least a month too late, at the start of the pandemic. I fear the panic running through the LibNats is due to the loss of ill-gotten gains that they have become dependent on and as our esteemed past Nightmare, Tony Abbot asks, “just how much are these old, sick people worth anyway ?”
    On that Cheery note, GOD save us from the virus and the coalition.
    Cheers, G”)

  3. Jeez…… first time I have heard from Kevin. And au natural he beats about LABOR. Well done Kev. Showing us the way you want to tapas to open more with covid stuff.
    Given you have been silent all this time….. how we love your late coming advise.

  4. Thre NSW Premier should have closed the border with Qld when Qld closed it. We have had Queenslanders coming back & forth, disobeying all the restrictions for months. Our Glad is never concerned with the far north.

  5. During the short access to Border Q’land visitors (July) to NSW and back I was able to have a weekend visit from my Son and his family from Toowoomba… 2 magical days with family in 6 months.
    With my grand-son since 2016 now disabled after a stroke, surgery on a brain tumour … when do I see him, about to turn 10 this month and his twin brother, and my 7 year old grand-daughter again.
    Same, with 2 sons with family in Victoria, not seen since Christmas last year. My family and I are still grieving, I the loss of my son, a brother and uncle 2 years ago.
    I feel for all those that desperately need medical attention and those with so many genuine needs to be with family.
    When do we again see our loved ones.
    Seems we are all stuck between a rock and a hard place.


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