First the dance floors and now the Kiwis
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Friday that the state will open its borders to New Zealand from 1 am Saturday December 12.
Palaszczuk told the Today show that the “great success story of Queensland” and of New Zealand that had led to the chief health officer’s surprise decision.
“(Chief health officer) Dr Jeannette Young advised me late last night that New Zealand is good to go,” she said.
“So, visitors coming in from New Zealand from 1 am tomorrow are welcome into Queensland.
“We are hoping that eventually New Zealand will not have to hotel quarantine upon return, and then there would be free flowing movement between the two.”
Those returning from Australia will still have to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving into New Zealand.
New Zealand has reached 28 days of no community transmission, and as a result, Dr Young told Ms Palaszczuk she was “more than happy” to allow Kiwis into Queensland.
“It’s a wonderful time of year to allow that to happen as well. All the stars are aligned at the moment, and fingers crossed that everybody is keeping a really tight reign on their hotel quarantine … That’s the biggest risk,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
New Zealand workers will also be able to work on Queensland fruit farms, which are desperately in need of help.
Ms Palasczuk says she remains concerned by hotel quarantine, due to the rising number of infections in the northern hemisphere, which has resulted in more cases being detected in hotel quarantine.
“We have more Australians returning home, and that’s a good thing,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I think it is great to see returning Australians are getting home to their loved ones.”
Ms Palaszczuk will attend the first in-person National Cabinet meeting in nine months on Friday.
She will discuss returning traveller caps and whether international students should be allowed in with other leaders.
“I’m very concerned about international students returning. The priority has to be on Australians coming home,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I have always raised concerns about students not doing hotel quarantine … It’s a big protective measure.
“I would not like to see students allowed in to stay at dormitories on campuses. I think that’s a huge risk, not just to students, but a huge risk to the Australian population.”
It comes just one day after Queensland announced indoor dancing would be allowed again from Monday.
The Premier said the announcement would be a big boost to the state’s young people.
“Young people will be celebrating next week when the dance floors open,” she said.
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