'I am sick of being attacked': Premier defends strict border measures
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended Queensland's strong state borders and called on the Federal Government to clearly outline its plan to resume international travel by Christmas.
In an at times fiery press conference, Ms Palaszczuk hit back at criticism of her government’s handling of the pandemic, particularly border closures and their impact on families and businesses.
"I am sick of being attacked for Queensland doing a great job and Queenslanders doing a great job," she said.
"Hospitals in NSW will be overwhelmed next month, I don't want that to happen here.
“I’m asking Queesnlanders to get vaccinated to protect our freedoms
Thursday 23 September – coronavirus cases in Queensland:— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 23, 2021
1 new local case, detected in home quarantine and linked to the Sunnybank cluster.
1 new overseas acquired case, detected in hotel quarantine.#covid19 pic.twitter.com/VmuXTRH0PW
Yesterday, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said the Federal Government forecast the international border would reopen by Christmas "at the latest".
When questioned if she would allow Queenlanders to travel overseas by Christmas, Ms Palaszczuk said it was a Federal Government decision but posited: “where are you going to go?”.
“I think the Federal Government needs to identify very clearly what countries that Australians can travel to,” she says.
“Going through those airports, some of those airports are like ghost towns.
“Queenslanders will probably have greater freedoms travelling around Queensland then if they hopped on a plane and went to Tokyo.
"I look forward to the day when we can travel freely across the world again."
The health response in Queensland has kept our people safe, and kept our economy open ✅ https://t.co/RkVYx2TiKU— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 22, 2021
Ms Palaszczuk remained non-committal when asked if the state's borders would open when Queensland reached 80 per cent full vaccination rate.
“We are working through a national plan, it has not been finalised. Let’s have the meeting next Friday,” she said.
ONE NEW LOCAL COVID CASE
Queensland has recorded one community-acquired COVID-19 case.
The new case is linked to the Sunnybank cluster and is a St Thomas More College student.
She tested positive on day nine of her 14-day quarantine period and was not in the community while infectious.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young thanked the family for staying home, highlighting the case proves why quarantining for the full 14 days is so important.
Dr Young also likened people planning for cyclone season to how Queenslanders should approach vaccination - get jabbed now and don’t wait for an outbreak.
The second case is in hotel quarantine.
There were 13,899 tests conducted yesterday.
Ms Palaszczuk, speaking at the new Pinkenba Vaccination Centre at the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, says 61 per cent of Queenslanders had received their first dose.
FREE FOOTY TICKETS
Meanwhile, thousands of free tickets for this weekend’s NRL finals are up for grabs. There’s only one catch: you have to get vaccinated.
Ms Palaszczuk thanked the NRL who will give away 3,000 double passes to anyone getting vaccinated at key centres starting from today.
There are 2,000 double passes for Friday’s game between the Sea Eagles and the Rabbitohs will be given away on Thursday, September 23 at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall and at a new vaccination centre opening at the cruise ship terminal at Pinkenba.
“This is all part of our effort to encourage vaccination uptake, which is why we’ve opened up our Caboolture, Doomben, Kippa Ring, Boondall and Pinkenba hubs to walk-ins,” Ms Palaszczuk says.