The NSW Nationals in the state government have welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to open its borders to an additional five northern NSW Local Government Areas (LGAs) from next Thursday.
NSW Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest has long campaigned for a more common sense approach to the border closure and said the extended border zone would allow residents living the Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes-Servern LGAs to cross the Queensland border without entering quarantine.
“The Queensland border closure has had a significant impact on towns and businesses and this decision to widen the border zone will be welcomed by the additional 152,000 NSW residents and workers who will soon be able to cross the border,” Mr Provest said.
“The NSW Nationals in the state government have been advocating for these changes through the Northern Border Recovery Committee and the NSW Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish, to ensure Northern Border residents can access health care, education and work.”
The Northern Border Recovery Committee was formed to ensure local advice, local experience and local expertise informs efforts to minimise the impact of border closures and provide recovery support measures.
Mr Provest is the co-chair of the committee and its members include representatives from the Department of Regional NSW, NSW Police, NSW Health, education, emergency services and transport.
From Thursday, October 1 onwards, the extended border zone will cover 41 NSW postcodes in 11 LGAs. Residents will still need to apply for a border pass, which will enable them to cross the border and to travel anywhere in the state of Queensland. Queensland residents will also be able to travel to the border region of NSW and return without the need for quarantine.
“The NSW Nationals do not want to keep borders closed or COVID-19 restrictions in place for a day longer than necessary and we look forward to more COVID-19 free areas of NSW being allowed access to other states in the near future,” Mr Provest said.