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Local holidays encouraged, but Queensland’s borders to remain locked

“They can holiday in Queensland in their regional areas so I really want to encourage people as much as possible to start planning those holidays and support our tourism industry,” she said.

“A lot of Queenslanders used to travel overseas [for holidays], well now is their opportunity to back Queenslanders.”

The Premier’s call comes as the government stands firm on its decision to keep the state’s borders closed to outsiders for the time being.

The tourism industry in particular is worried it will miss out on crucial interstate visitors for the winter season if the borders stay closed until at least September, as the Premier has indicated.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also repeatedly criticised Ms Palaszczuk for her stance, saying NSW residents wanted to come to Queensland for holidays and business.

But Ms Palaszczuk shot down all of her arguments again on Thursday, saying she “would not be lectured” by the NSW Premier.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young is watched by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles at a media conference on Wednesday.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young is watched by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles at a media conference on Wednesday.Credit:AAP/ Dan Peled

“I hope they get their community transmission under control because that means we will be able to open up sooner,” she said.

“We’re not going to be lectured to by a state that has the highest numbers [of virus cases] in Australia.”

Ms Palaszczuk also laughed off a push by One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson to launch a High Court challenge of the border closures as unconstitutional.

“By the time any action gets to the High Court, I’m quite sure the borders would be open,” the Premier said.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton again weighed into the debate on Thursday, urging the Premier to reconsider the closures.

“They could make a call today that the borders could reopen in July, and you would have those tourism operators at least with some light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr Dutton told radio 4BC.

Ms Palaszczuk has always said she was deferring to the medical advice provided by Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, who again reiterated on Thursday that the borders would not be opened until NSW and Victoria got their community transmission under control.

“We are still seeing significantly more cases of local transmission in NSW and Victoria,” she said.

“This is not the time for tourists to travel to Queensland because one case can cause an enormous setback to our plan to open up communities.”

The Premier’s reiteration followed comments by federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly on Wednesday that there was no medical reason for borders to remain closed.

Asked about his comments, Dr Young said she would be speaking to her interstate colleagues at their regular meeting on Thursday, but she insisted the medical advice was consistent both nationally and within the states and territories.

Meanwhile, Queensland health authorities are still trying to trace the source of infection for a woman diagnosed with COVID-19 this week who returned from overseas two months ago.

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The woman, in her 70s, is thought to have contracted the disease while holidaying in India, however the accepted incubation period for the virus is just 14 days, leading to questions over whether she contracted it overseas or in Queensland.

“At this stage, we believe it most likely that she was infected in India approximately two months ago,” Dr Young said.

“The woman, who lives in the Metro North area, will remain in isolation until we confirm the circumstances and she no longer has symptoms.”

Retailers and tourism operators were given one reason to smile on Thursday, with the annual Ekka holiday shifted to Friday throughout the southeast.

With the show cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the public holiday will be used to encourage domestic tourism in August, with a guaranteed long weekend instead of staggered weekdays.

“A Friday public holiday will provide Brisbane locals with the opportunity to make the most of the weekend,” National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said.

“It will also give retailers confidence that it is economically viable to open their doors for the day as busy trade will mean they can afford the penalty rates.”

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