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Gladys tells NSW tourists to stay out of Qld in latest tourism blow

Business

Holidaymakers from interstate are being urged by their political leaders to reconsider any plans for an Easter trip to Queensland in the latest blow to an already reeling tourism sector.

 

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The sector is also having to deal with the Greater Brisbane lockdown coinciding with the end of the JobKeeper subsidy, according to the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stressed her state would not shut the border, but asked residents eyeing a trip north over the Easter break to change their plans.

“If you were going to Queensland for a holiday unfortunately we will ask you to reconsider, especially you shouldn’t go to Greater Brisbane,” she told reporters on Monday.

“Holiday in NSW.”

“It is an evolving situation and I’m concerned about the the community transmission in Greater Brisbane because it does suggest that there were previous strands of the virus which were undetected,” she said.

Western Australia and South Australia will close their borders to Queenslanders as a result of the latest COVID-19 cluster, which has seen increased cases of community transmission of the UK variant of the virus. Victoria will also severely limit who from Greater Brisbane can cross its border.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland feared the lockdown would be the tipping point for many businesses.

QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the lockdown would cause confusion among travellers and raise uncertainty about Easter travel plans, particularly to the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Although it was scheduled to last three days it would cast a cloud over Easter and the rest of the state because of fears it could be extended.

“It is a devastating blow, a cruel blow at this time,’’ Gschwind said.

“You could not have made up a tourism disaster movie with worse circumstances.

“We were looking for Easter to deliver strong bookings, strong interest, that boost we need for our industry was on offer for easter and now it’s moved a little bit further out of reach for us, certainly for Brisbane.

“It will shake consumer confidence across the country.

“We are devastated this outbreak occurred and now we have to deal with the aftermath.

“It’s not going to be easy to absorb, especially as JobKeeper is coming to an end as well.’’

He said there was little point in arguing against lockdowns because the Government’s approach had won wide community support.

“It is what it is. It clearly has the community support still and everybody is terrified of this going wider, so it’s beyond us to even argue against the lockdown. There is no easy solution.’’

Asked about tourism industry concerns, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “this is going to be part of the Australian way of life until everyone is vaccinated”.

“By today declaring that Greater Brisbane a hotspot, I’m asking all other state and territory leaders to do exactly the same,” Palaszczuk said, adding that international arrivals would also be halved.

“Hopefully, after the three days, we’ll be able to update Queenslanders.”

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland hoped the lockdown would last only three days and would be a circuit breaker, but general manager of advocacy Amanda Rohan said many businesses may not survive.

She said there were questions now about how companies would deal with orders for easter and also how staff would cope.

“We are hoping it’s only for three days but what if it goes beyond (that)?’’ Rohan said.

“Three days does not sound like a lot but it is hard for small businesses to absorb.

“We are at a tipping point.’’

Westpac has forecast the end of JobKeeper could mean the loss of 100,000 jobs nationally.

She said businesses were able to access financial help during major weather events and questioned whether the Government had funds available for businesses affected by lockdowns.

 

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