North pushes travel bubble plans to premier

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk met with North Queensland tourism operators and peak bodies to hear their ideas about how to help the tourism sector recover from COVID-19 yesterday.

The move comes after the Mackay, Townsville and Cairns tourism bodies joined forces to call on the Queensland Government to include North Queensland as part of the Outback region.

If approved, it would allow North Queensland residents to travel further and have more people in cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Ms Palaszczuk said she appreciated the opportunity to hear about proposals to further help North Queensland recover from the pandemic.

"I understand the impacts this is having on people and local economies and I am determined to do everything possible to support Queensland jobs," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I thank the industry for submitting a detailed plan which will now be carefully assessed by the chief health officer."

Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O'Callaghan said she hoped the meeting would lead to northern restrictions being lifted earlier to save jobs.



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Chief Executive Officer of Townsville Enterprise Patricia O'Callaghan. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Chief Executive Officer of Townsville Enterprise Patricia O'Callaghan. Picture: Alix Sweeney

"We have a firm focus on the recovery of the North and highlighting to the Queensland Government that minor modifications to the current road map will bring major benefits to businesses and the Queensland economy," Mrs O'Callaghan said.

"We have been advocating for a region by region recovery strategy and engaging with our state representatives on the issue since the end of March.

"Through this time we have been emphasising the importance of the Government taking into account the different situations in North Queensland compared to the South East in recovery planning.

"At the end of the day, we want Queensland to be moving for Queenslanders, but the north and south recovery cannot be expected to be cut from the same cloth."

The move comes as Central Queensland Tourism operators called to be included in the North Queensland bubble.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said one of the new issues being explored was if communities in Central Queensland and the Southern Great Barrier Reef region (Bundaberg to Rockhampton) could be included in the move.

Originally published as North pushes travel bubble plans to premier