Call is out to close CQ to non-essential SEQ travellers

A BAND of local and state government representatives are putting together a united voice to have the Central Queensland region protected from the spread of COVID-19.

Livingstone Shire Council and Banana Shire Council along with Keppel MP ­Brittany Lauga have asked the Premier to consider closing Central Queensland off to all non-essential traffic from the south east metropolitan area, including travellers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said on multiple occasions during the week that people should not travel out of their regions.

"People should stay in their own states and in their own suburbs," she said.

"People in the southeast should not travel to other parts of the state. Do not go on holidays. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary."

However, the contingent of Central Queensland representatives want to see restrictions like those rolled out on state borders.

Bill Ludwig
Bill Ludwig

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig said it was a commonsense approach to tackling the COVID-19 spread.

"For Central Queensland, when you look objectively at the situation, our greatest risk is not just people from NSW entering our region but also the very real risk of undiagnosed people coming to our region from the already infected areas of Queensland's southeast corner," he said.

"Any comprehensive risk analysis will clearly show that one of the best and common sense ways to treat this identified risk is to be prepared with strategies like appropriate highway checkpoint and monitoring stations.

"What is needed at this point in time is for that full comprehensive desktop logistics modelling to be fast-tracked immediately.

"This would put Central Queensland 'on the front foot' and ahead of the game to have this sensible precautionary measure ready to go in place should immediate implementation become necessary."

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the funding for Taranganba School road safety is part of the State Governments $20 million plan to make school zones safer
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the funding for Taranganba School road safety is part of the State Governments $20 million plan to make school zones safer

On Tuesday, Ms Lauga wrote to the Premier requesting a Central Queensland lockdown to be considered.

"CENTRAL Queensland can absolutely limit the impact of COVID-19 on our economy and our health system -we must be vigilant and watch its every move," Ms Lauga said.

The Premier's office was asked if a Central Queensland lockdown would be considered to which a spokesman said, "no Central Queensland lockdown is being considered".

Cr Ludwig said not having the measures in place left regional communities exposed to potentially infected travellers from the south east.

"It is virtually impossible for Mayors to give the level of assurance our communities are looking for and need at this point in time," he said.

Cr Ludwig also assured the call for the lockdown had Mayor of Banana Shire Council Nev Ferrier's full support.

Nev Ferrier
Nev Ferrier

"Mayors and LDMG's are expected to be proactive where ever possible and this is one area that as yet has not been comprehensively addressed," Cr Ludwig said.

"Hopefully it will now be elevated and fast-tracked as a priority on behalf of our community."

The push is a sign of a growing trend after Katter's ­Australia Party leader Robbie Katter said failing to segregate regional Queensland from the southeast at this time "would lead to catastrophe".

"Policed road closures and strict fever testing at airports arrival gates would be enforced as part of an urgent plan to quarantine north, northwest and southwest Queensland from the rest of the state," he said.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor also made calls to secure a local mining workforce model on mines within her municipality to stop further the spread of the contagious illness.