COVID-19

Border breakthrough for NSW-Qld

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said they were keen to “move” the border into Tweed Heads to allow residents to move freely back and forth across the state line.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently wrote to her NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian to propose temporarily moving the state border several kilometres into NSW, but it was rejected.However, following a massive protest last weekend at the Coolangatta-Tweed Heads border and tales of hardship from residents and businesses in the region, the NSW Government may have a change of heart. Ms Grace said Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro were in discussion on how a border move would operate.“We would like to see some movement in that area,” Ms Grace told reporters on Saturday.“I know that two deputy premiers are getting together. We think it’s a great idea, and we hope that we can advance that.“There are no cases in that area, it’s an ideal opportunity to do it. “So as soon as we can get that agreement done, we would be willing to participate in any agreed rezoning … so people can move freely. And we have our fingers crossed that that will change.”The news of a possible breakthrough on the border crisis came as Ms Grace on Saturday announced no new locally acquired Covid-19 cases, with four positive tests in hotel quarantine. There were 26 active cases across the state, while almost 20,000 vaccines were administered in the past 24 hours.“This is good news,” Ms Grace said.“We are very pleased that we were able to ease restrictions after 4pm yesterday.”Queensland was released from a week-long lockdown earlier this month, but a number of restrictions had remained due to the chief health officer’s concerns about the Delta variant. There were 146 people linked to that outbreak.Under the changes, venues such as pubs, restaurants and cafes in southeast Queensland can have one person per two square metres and standing at the pub for a drink and dancing will be allowed again. A total of 200 people will be allowed at weddings and funerals. Private gatherings are allowed up to 100 people and community sport is back with no restrictions.Stadiums can return to 100 per cent capacity, but are subject to mask requirements.The easing of restrictions brought southeast Queensland back in line with the rest of the state.Mask wearing remains mandatory on public transport, rideshare and at schools for teachers, staff and high school students.

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