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September 25, 2023

Bipartisan request for Tweed/Byron Shire border checkpoint holds no sway with Deputy Premier

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Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the bipartisan requests for a Tweed Shire border check point held no influence with him.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro made it clear yesterday at his press conference that the combined bipartisan appeal from Mayor of Tweed Chris Cherry (Independent), Tweed MP Geoff Provest (Nationals), Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens), Lismore MP Janelle Saffin (Labor) and Ballina MLC Catherine Cusack (Liberal) held no weight with him in relation to managing the Queensland–NSW border in relation to COVID-19 outbreak.

‘I listen to the health authorities,’ he told the press conference.

‘We are working with the Queensland government. These guys are jumping the gun.’

Barilaro did acknowledge that the impact on health and medical appointments for people from NSW who rely on Queensland health services had ‘caught us by surprise’.

‘Previously access to hospitals and medical services was not part of the lockdowns,’ he said.

Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry. Photo supplied

Pushing ahead regardless

However, Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry told The Echo that yesterday afternoon she and the MPs had met with the Cross Border Commissioner to discuss the possibility of having a border checkpoint on the southern Tweed and Byron Shire border.

‘Yesterday afternoon we had a meeting with the Cross Border Commissioner, the MPs and myself who had called for the checkpoint. The commissioner outlined the considerations that would need to be looked at for this to be put in place. There were certainly a lot of issues but they were not insurmountable.

‘The fact is that NSW government has done this in Sydney already. They set up an exclusion zone to stop the protestors entering central Sydney. This shows that the NSW government has the mechanism to set up a checkpoint at the Tweed shire local government area (LGA) border,’ she told The Echo.

Mayor Cherry said there were many people suffering as a result of the strict border closures citing one local who is unable to get treatment for their bad back because their chiropractor is based in Queensland that apparently doesn’t qualify as a medical appointment.

Another person who contacted The Echo described how a recent heart attack victim was transferred to a Queensland hospital but then had to remain in isolation for 14 days before receiving their double heart bypass operation. They were from Northern NSW.

‘All our specialist services are on the Gold Coast, it is a simple matter of geography. That is something that may not be fully understood by people who are not in our border region,’ explained Mayor Cherry.

‘Sydney is close to 1,000km away and the services across the border in Queensland are our local services.’

Friday meeting scheduled

At yesterday’s meeting Mayor Cherry said ‘It was clear that as a group we wanted to push ahead. We have a further meeting on Friday and we are looking to include the relevant Queensland MPs from across the border and the Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. We need to make sure there is the same willingness to do this on the other side of the border and look at what Queensland will need to have this put in place.’

‘This will be a pilot that could be used in the future during similar situations,’ she said.

‘Ultimately we would hope that it would be broadened out to the whole of the Northern Rivers, that is our goal.’

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  1. Deputy PM??

    Bloody hell, as if we don’t have enough problems with the current one! :>
    Is this a case of being offered a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledummer?

  2. This is a crazy idea – this will in turn exclude residents of Byron Shire from accessing the Tweed (Tweed hospital is the only equiped reliable hospital in the area) And if the border goes on to south include the “whole of Northern Rivers” – as suggested – then Byron, Ballina and Lismore residents will be excluded from accessing their capital city in Sydney, or anywhere south of those shires. This madness has to stop..!

  3. I can’t see how moving the border checkpoint south is a solution. QLD imposed these draconian laws and until they reverse these punitive measures moving a checkpoint will give NSW residents little. What it will do is divide our local communities. We are all effected by these extreme measures and in many cases these measures are effecting people’s livelihood and placing both Tweed/Byron and QLD people into very difficult situations. The arbitrary closure shows where the QLD government’s loyalty lie and it is not with the southern Gold Coast and as for us in NSW there is no interest (unless we decide to holiday/shop or pay QLD any tax). As soon as the border does open QLD will launch a major PR campaign to woo our NSW dollars back but for some if not many it will be too late. (Treat us with disdain and ask us to support them when they wish).
    Many may wish to holiday here in our beautiful end of the state, shop locally more often or look for employment closer to home. The uncertainty of QLD closing the gate may make us think more about the decisions we make.
    NSW has many questions to answer re our handling of the pandemic however for state governments to think they can stop this thing with a border closure is short term thinking and is at the expense of coming up with more practical long term solutions.

  4. Morrison and Berejiklian have in effect turned NSW into a covid leper colony, it’s borders sealed off by the rest of the nation. Why aren’t they being prosecuted? Where are the checks and balances? This is failure on a massive scale, as we watch the fatalities they have caused, rise towards a hundred and our hospitals overwhelmed!. Just think about that for a moment Australia?


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