Border closures around the country will be leading National Cabinet discussions between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders today.

Queensland borders are set to be the biggest focus of Friday’s meeting, as the state faces continued pressure on easing its hard-line restrictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants borders to come down by Christmas, but instead of being pushed to tear down a complete hard border with NSW, it’s expected Mr Morrison will seek “common sense and compassion” from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

But speaking to media on Friday, Ms Palaszczuk said she will not be “intimidated” to reopen.

“I think it’s a bit disingenuous for this heightened criticism that is coming from a whole lot of levels when our fundamental concern is to look after Queenslanders and to make sure that they are safe during this time,” she said.

“I do not want to see what has happened in our aged care sector in NSW and in Victoria happen here in Queensland. That would be a nightmare.”

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There will also be further discussion how a coronavirus ‘hotspot’ is defined by state and territory leaders, which Mr Morrison wants clarity on so there’s an understanding on when states can shut borders. The decision of opening and closing the borders has generated a $55 billion hit to the tourism sector this year alone.

Calls for Ms Palaszczuk to show “compassion” around the border restriction come after a Ballina woman lost one of her unborn twins.

The woman was advised to go to Sydney for surgery after she thought she would need to undergo 14 days of quarantine if sent to the closer Brisbane hospitals.

Following the tragedy, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Sunshine State needed to show “compassion” when it comes to allowing people to cross the border.

On Thursday, Queensland’s chief health minister Jeannette Young gave perhaps the clearest explanation yet of what it would take to remove a ban on the state’s southern neighbours crossing the border.

Dr Young said NSW would need to hit a benchmark of 28 days of no community transmission before Queensland would remove border controls.

Ms Berejiklian said the request was a “tall order” and one the state was unlikely to meet in the near future.

“The guidelines that have been sent by the Queensland Government in relation to when they will reopen their border is a pretty tall order,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that case, that number.

“We’ve demonstrated for two months nearly that you can actually maintain a good control of the virus and keep your economy going.

“I hope other states have the confidence to take their borders down and do the same.”

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham agreed with the NSW Premier, saying the 28-day target set by Queensland was a “very, very high benchmark” to meet.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud demanded “the insanity to stop” around the border between NSW and Queensland, especially given the Sunshine State will be hosting the AFL Grand Final.

“As a Queenslander I’m ashamed,” he said.

“When the Premier can allow 400 AFL executives to swan around a resort in the Gold Coast but won’t allow teenage boarding children to go home to see parents into remote NSW (it) is abhorrent.”

Meanwhile, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan is refusing to put a time frame on reopening the border, noting other states have “chopped and changed” their policies during the ongoing pandemic.

“We’re not going to agree to bring down the borders. I’ve made that plain to the Prime Minister,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Thursday.

“We’re not setting any timetables … (people) have tried to say ‘set a date’ … and every time you set a date, or you try to set a date, the date moves because COVID is unpredictable,” he said.

“What we’ve seen other states do is chop and change along the road.

“South Australia, Queensland – they’ve changed measures, backwards and forwards, front and back, they’ve gone borders, hotspots, no borders, and they always cause enormous disruption by doing so.”


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