‘Angry’ minister lashes out at ‘gutter politics’ over border
TOURISM Minister Kate Jones has vehemently denied a suggestion that Queensland's borders remaining closed is a play to win votes in the marginal seats in Townsville and North Queensland.
Speaking to media at the Hot Shott Cafe on Tedder Ave in Main Beach today, Ms Jones said she understood that businesses were suffering but said she was angered by "gutter politics" around the border issue.
"No I strongly reject this, and quite frankly I'm pretty angry that the LNP are choosing to play such gutter politics on this, we know that everyone's hurting," Ms Jones said.
"Let me be very clear, the Premier has said this, down here on the Gold Coast, and in Cairns, she's listening to the Chief Health Officer's advice and we are implementing that, and because people have listened to that advice, we are standing here on June 1, not June 14, bringing forward relaxations."
When asked what she had to say to the thousands of Gold Coasters in the tourism and food industry who are suffering depression and anxiety about job losses, Ms Jones said: "anyone who has lost their job, it hurts you deeply and it's a really tough thing".
"And I join the chorus of industry in saying to the PM please do not cut JobSeeker payments short, the longer we can keep these JobSeeker payments in place while we start reopening the economy, start to reopen business, the less heartache we'll have in the long term.
"So I reiterate the calls of the tourism industry to make sure that we keep our JobKeeper in place for as long as possible so people do have money coming into their bank accounts and they can keep their heads above water."
Ms Jones said she urged those who could afford to have a holiday to return to the Gold Coast, particularly the two million Brisbane residents "just up the road".
"Eat at a local restaurant, grab a coffee and stay at a local hotel. We know that Queenslanders are itching to get out and about again. That's exactly what we're encouraging them to do," she said.
Destination Gold Coast chair Paul Donovan said he was a strong advocate for Queensland's borders to be reopened "when safe" and for theme parks to come online as soon as possible.
But Mr Donovan said the lifting of restrictions throughout Queensland today was a win for the Gold Coast.
"This is a good result. It means we can start our marketing early, fine tuning our message in the intrastate market so we can try to get a jump on other states when interstate borders are opened. We at Destination Gold Coast have our marketing strategy ready to go."