Tourism bosses: Qld ‘biggest loser’ from border closures

 

Queensland is "the biggest loser" from its hard line border closures, as tourism and aviation sectors push back and propose a plan to make it clear when the restrictions will come down.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce, who today announced 6000 jobs would go after making close to a $2 billion loss, and the Australian Tourism Industry Council have each called out Queensland, as they call for nationally consistent rules on when borders will open.

They are calling for transparency around the rules, with the states going hardest on borders facing elections in coming months.

Australian Tourism Industry Council CEO Simon Westaway has proposed a plan for a nationally consistent set of rules to open or close borders. Picture: Supplied
Australian Tourism Industry Council CEO Simon Westaway has proposed a plan for a nationally consistent set of rules to open or close borders. Picture: Supplied

ATIC boss Simon Westaway this morning proposed a plan to a parliamentary committee on the government's response to COVID-19, which would see national guidelines used to set out clearly when borders open or close.

He proposed two plans, one where after 14 days of no or nondescript community transmission in a region or a state the framework kicks in for a border reopening.

Alternatively, he suggested after 28 days of no or nondescript community transmission an opening should occur within that working week.

"The administrative arrangements should be nationally consistent in terms of borders closing, and on the way out. The reasons would have transparency, clarity and regular assessment. That assessment should be done on a monthly basis," Mr Westaway said.

"Let's have a framework with a clear set of guiding principles to guide our way out of this situation."

He said as the figures on COVID-19 were improving, the language around domestic borders was hardening.

"The biggest loser out of this whole debate is the state of Queensland," Mr Westaway said.

"It's very troubling. It's a $21 million, 173 job a day decision to have closed the borders."

Qantas boss Alan Joyce said there needed to be nationally consistent guidelines on borders, and called for the National Cabinet to develop these.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says without border rules it looks political. Picture: Russell Shakespeare
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says without border rules it looks political. Picture: Russell Shakespeare

"Otherwise it feels like there's no real basis for the decisions, it's there just to inform the politics," Mr Joyce said.

"We think that eventually will cost jobs and businesses, particularly a lot of the small businesses in Queensland could go out of business."

"If it's safe to do it, it should be opened.

"We're not saying, "Open the borders" blankly. We're saying, "Let's have the rules to say what would you have to see in order for those borders to be open?"

Originally published as Tourism bosses: Qld the 'biggest loser' from border closures


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