Monday, 22 February 2021
Private Members' Business
COVID-19: International Travel
I don't say which side of politics either of those premiers who run those states are on. If the Labor MPs opposite are feeling a bit worried about it, it's because they have noticed the trend that these are all Labor premiers. This need not be a political issue. The success of New South Wales, with their gold standard contact tracing, has shown how it can be done. Having a contact-tracing system in place that works has meant New South Wales can continue to take more international arrivals, because they have faith in their capacity to deal with any issues that may arise.
Let's contrast this to my home state of Queensland, where we are still taking far fewer than New South Wales. In Queensland we had a case where a hotel quarantine worker contracted the virus. Within just six hours notice, Brisbane city was put into a lockdown and masks were made mandatory. So tough were these restrictions that people were told to wear masks in their car when travelling alone. The reason for this snap lockdown was that the Queensland government had so little faith in their contact tracing that we were told there were no other options but to lock down the city while the government scrambled to identify close contacts. The impacts of this snap lockdown were significant. They shouldn't be mocked by the Labor MPs opposite. There were businesses who had ordered all their fresh produce and had to tip it in the bin, restaurants who had to cancel a long weekend's full of bookings and tourism operators, like those in the member for Moncrieff's area, who lost another long weekend of takings.
Of course, the broader implications speak to confidence. The businesses that rely on domestic tourism and this confidence face yet more difficulties. After this lockdown, the Queensland Premier spoke about looking at a regional facility to facilitate quarantine. But like a lot of announcements the Queensland Premier's made, it just came short on detail. It wasn't much more than a thought bubble and a few dot points written down. As we progress into the future we must look at increasing international arrivals overall. It's time for the Queensland state government and other state governments to look at the New South Wales example. For us all to work together, we have a gold standard there that we can point to. If we work together, we can help lift these caps and get more Aussies home.