In Cairns to announce a $30 million grant to develop two new wharves and complete a business plan for further expansion, the Premier said the key issue was how the two southern states would cope with people moving about more freely.
Restrictions have been loosened in Victoria after a dramatic downturn in cases and NSW has started to put five consecutive days without any community transmission, although four cases were confirmed among returning travellers. Victoria reported 13 new cases yesterday.
“The really key point here is what is going to happen when Victoria comes out of lockdown and they start moving around?” she said.
“At the moment we have zero cases and we are free to move around Queensland. In Victoria, that’s not the case. We are keeping a very close eye on Victoria.
“It’s great to see what’s happening in NSW. We are seeing lower levels of cases but once again the NSW health advice is saying that they are concerned about the mass movement of people during school holidays. We are going to watch that over the coming weeks.”
The chief health officer advice is that NSW would need to have 28 consecutive days of no transmission before the borders could be reopened.
She said she was also keen to learn from the WA experience of using an app to monitor people in quarantine.
“The focus is on NSW and Victoria and Australia can re-open all at once.” she said.
The Government’s funding of the Cairns wharf development is expected to create about 150 jobs in construction but Ports North chairman Russell Beer said that was just the first step.
“The real sting in the tail is the $2m towards the master plan,” he said.
“If we can achieve what we think we can achieve here this could be a game-changer for the region. The money that could flow into this area from being a maintenance centre for navy ships is on steroids compared to where we are today.
“We are talking six-figure jobs, not people selling t-shirts in the middle of Cairns. So it’s really transformative.”