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Election over, Miles calls on Morrison for an end to pandemic politics

Decision 2020

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the election result was an endorsement of the Palaszczuk Government’s response to the pandemic.

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His comments came as COVID-19 cases continued to trickle into Queensland from overseas. Overnight, two returned travellers tested positive in hotel quarantine, after three such cases yesterday, taking the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state to eight.

Queensland has gone more than 200 days without a COVID-19 death, and the Palaszczuk Government recently agreed to increase hotel quarantine capacity to accept more returning travellers.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, has expressed confidence in the hotel quarantine system, contact-tracing, surveillance and also sewage testing, believing it would allow the state to respond quickly to any new outbreaks.

However, Queensland’s state of preparedness was not sufficient to allow the border to open to travellers from greater Sydney this week, due to the number of recent cases of community transmission in the NSW capital. Young continues to monitor the situation but has said NSW is getting better, as is Victoria, and border restrictions will be revisited at the end of November.

NSW recorded another three locally-acquired cases overnight, all contacts of existing cases, while Victoria recorded no new cases and no deaths for the fifth straight day. Victoria has been Australia’s worst-hit state, recently subject to a severe lockdown, however its recovery is likely to see the border with NSW reopened on November 23.

The Queensland-NSW border has been a difficult political issue all year and Labor portrayed the weekend election as a referendum on the Palaszczuk government’s handling of the issue.

Miles – who was in a war of words with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and federal ministers throughout the campaign – said it was time to move forward.

“Queenslanders have been clear that they back Queensland’s health response including strong action on borders which has helped keep our economy open,” Miles told InQueensland.

“I’m really proud of Annastacia and the way she has put the health and safety of Queenslanders first.

“I’m hopeful the Morrison government will now stop the politicking and work with the Palaszczuk Government for the next four years for the good of Queenslander’s health and our economic recovery.”

The Queensland Government remains in disaster mode, with COVID-19 still subject to an emergency declaration that gives Young significant power. That declaration is due for renewal on December 31.

Federally, national cabinet will meet again next Friday. That will be the first major engagement for Palaszczuk, who is expected to announce her new-look Cabinet before then.

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