Police and the Army at the Queensland border on the Gold Coast Highway. The borders will be closed to five million people from the greater Sydney region from 1am on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Police and the Army at the Queensland border on the Gold Coast Highway. The borders will be closed to five million people from the greater Sydney region from 1am on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

Borders: Sydney lockout supported by Gladstone tourism body

LOCKING out Sydneysiders and their valuable tourist dollars has been welcomed by the Gladstone region tourism body despite the crushing blow delivered to the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic.

GADPL CEO Gus Stedman has said the pandemic has cost the region tens of millions of dollars from its annual $200 million tourist income.

Yesterday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the borders would be closed to five million people from the greater Sydney region from 1am Saturday, due to the number of virus infections being recorded and the growth of hot spots.

Mr Steadman said the body stood by the premier's announcement to keep the people of Central Queensland safe.

"The GADPL are supportive of the border closure to people from coronavirus hot spots, which is a much more practical approach than blanket closures," he said.

The closure will involve 34 local government areas being banned from entering Queensland, including Sydney, The Central Coast, the Hawkesbury and The Blue Mountains regions.

 

GADPL chief executive Gus Stedman says despite tourism suffering a hit of more than $25 million, Gladstone is poised to bounce back. Picture: Rodney Stevens
GADPL chief executive Gus Stedman says despite tourism suffering a hit of more than $25 million, Gladstone is poised to bounce back. Picture: Rodney Stevens

 

Wollongong and Newcastle areas are not included and Queenslanders who return from the greater Sydney region will be forced to self-quarantine for 14 days, at their own expense, the Premier said.

Since the borders were reopened on July 10, Mr Stedman said there had been some people from NSW visit the region.

"The GADPL are recording all visitors through our centres as per the instructions from TEQ (Tourism and Events QLD)," he said.

"Some people have come from interstate however most visitors have been from south east Queensland."

Since the borders have reopened, Mr Stedman said the interest in the region from tourists and the spending had increased dramatically.

"Our tourism members are seeing strong bookings through to September and the next school holidays are looking good," he said.

 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk discusses the current COVID-19 situation at Gladstone Hospital. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk discusses the current COVID-19 situation at Gladstone Hospital. Picture: Rodney Stevens

 

Ms Palaszczuk said she was determined to do what ever it took to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID-19.

"There has been more outbreaks in other parts of greater Sydney and that will now become another declared hotspot," she said.

"We are monitoring the situation in NSW every single day.

"We do not want a second wave here and we do not want widespread community transmission."

In the Gladstone Local Government area there has still only been the one COVID-19 case recorded, with 10 cases in Central Queensland.

Bundaberg has had 14 cases confirmed, Livingstone one and Rockhampton seven, according to Queensland Health figures.

Since the pandemic began, Queensland has recorded 1079 virus cases and 1065 people have recovered, with six deaths from coronavirus.

Nationally there have been 15,582 virus cases recorded and 176 deaths.

Victoria leads the way with 92 people dead from COVID-19, more than all other states combined.