Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is set to come under fire at today’s National Cabinet over border measures that allowed 400 AFL contingents to lap up luxury while medical and compassionate exemptions are denied.
AFL staff, executives and families arrived at the Gold Coast earlier this week, having been given permission to enter Queensland despite a ban on people from Victoria, New South Wales and ACT entering the state.
New footage of AFL travellers, obtained by Nine News, shows children swimming and people tanning, sparking accusations of a double standard for a state that allowed in sports stars but made life too confusing for a pregnant mum who later lost one of her twins.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said he and the other AFL contingents were doing the right thing while quarantining for 14 days ahead of the grand final at the Gabba in Brisbane.
“We are doing this quarantine the same as everyone else. These are decisions the health department has signed off on,” he said.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young said the AFL was abiding by a “COVID-safe industry plan”.
“There are 24 quarantine hotels that Queensland Health and Police co-manage; this additional hotel has been stood up by the AFL,” Dr Young said on Thursday.
“It’s not stopping other people coming into Queensland.”
Dr Young’s strict border measures, enforced by Ms Palaszczuk, are set to be targeted at today’s National Cabinet meeting, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison expected to announce a new hotspot traffic light system that would guide states on who to allow in.
Mr Morrison has previously called for more compassion and consistency over border measures, and has told states borders need to be open by Christmas so “families can be reunited”.
Ms Palaszczuk has repeatedly reaffirmed she had ultimate say in what happened at the borders, and that her main priority was “keeping Queenslanders safe”.
“I will continue to keep our borders closed to keep Queenslanders safe, I won’t be moved on this,” she said.
Dr Young said the trigger for Queensland to re-open its borders with NSW would not be pulled until the state had had no community transmission of COVID-19 for 28 days.
“The one standard my team work to is to keep Queenslanders safe,” she said.
Yesterday, the mayor of a border town that lost its only supermarket to a blaze earlier this week slammed Ms Palaszczuk, labelling her as “cruel and heartless”.
Residents of Mungindi now have to travel hundreds of kilometres out of the border bubble to get basic supplies, made impossible by strict border measures that would mean they can’t access medical care in Queensland.
It comes as a new unit opens today to help co-ordinate those needing medical exemptions to enter into Queensland.
Dr Young and Ms Palaszczuk announced the venture last week, saying they hoped it would make life easier for those living in northern NSW who rely on Queensland’s health system.
Yesterday the state recorded two new cases, including one who worked at an aged care home, an hour southwest of Brisbane, for two days.
Dr Young said the risk to residents was very low because the staff member did not have contact with residents at Karinya Place at Laidley.
The two new cases are known to each other and have been linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre/Queensland Correction Services Academy cluster, which has grown to 30 people.
This week, Ms Palaszczuk said she felt “very comfortable” with the containment of the current cluster.
A new COVID-19 pop-up fever clinic has been set up at the popular tourist location Airlie Beach, after viral fragments of COVID-19 were found in sewage.
Dr Young said there was no cause for alarm, but told anyone with any symptoms to go and get tested.