Border restrictions a re-emerging flashpoint as COVID-19 cases rise

| 30.07,20. 06:59 AM |

Border restrictions a re-emerging flashpoint as COVID-19 cases rise

New tensions are building between Australian states as premiers clash over plans to block travellers at risk of spreading coronavirus from growing hotspots.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared all of Sydney is now a hotspot and residents will be forbidden from entering the Sunshine State from 1am on Saturday.

Previously, Queensland had only put restrictions on residents from three local government areas in Sydney's west and south-west.

The announcement yesterday caught NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian off guard as she continues to battle to keep the state from a new lockdown as cases grow.

"It would have been nice if she (Palaszczuk) told me, but that's fine," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I note that the cases they have had up there announced today are all from Victoria.

"In the end it hurts the smaller states when they don't interact with NSW."

Three new COVID-19 cases were announced in Queensland yesterday, compared with 19 in NSW.

Ms Palaszczuk said the closure from Saturday morning gave Queenslanders time to get home.

Returning Queenslanders will be required to pay for two weeks of hotel quarantine when the new measures come into effect.

"Queenslanders should not be travelling to Sydney," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Meanwhile, as Queensland's border hardens, one of the state's most divisive residents, businessman Clive Palmer, is hoping to loosen restrictions on the other side of the country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the mining magnate's court bid to bring down the WA border was "highly likely" to succeed.

WA currently maintains the most stringent border restrictions in the country.

While Western Australians can travel freely within the state, outsiders must apply for an exemption.

Premier Mark McGowan slammed Mr Palmer's pursuit as "selfish".

But Mr Palmer dismissed the premier's accusations.

"We would expect Mark McGowan to say that," he said.

"The state of WA and its people will be cruelled for decades if the state doesn't open its borders."

The case is being heard in the Federal Court this week, before moving to the High Court later in the year.

The federal government, which has criticised Mr McGowan's border policy, has denied supporting Mr Palmer.


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