As an MP representing communities along more than 900 kilometres of the Queensland border, I have been contacted in recent days with feedback on the challenges local residents face with the most recent set of border restrictions introduced by the Queensland Government.
It has been disheartening to see COVID-19 continue to spread, and the experience in Victoria with community transmission highlights the need for continued vigilance.
So I can understand why the Queensland Government decided to tighten border controls as part of its measures to restrict the movement of people and put additional measures on those that have travelled from interstate.
But these approaches do not come without implementation issues.
I have contacted Premier Palaszczuk to ensure she is aware of the unique circumstances of communities along the NSW/Queensland border and to ensure there is not an unnecessary burden on those relying on border crossing.
Much of my Parkes electorate contains sparse populations that travel large distances to conduct business and receive services many of which are only reasonably accessible in Queensland. This includes medical treatment, shopping for essentials and the movement of workers.
I have also received numerous messages from parents detailing challenges with visiting and supporting children at boarding schools across the border.
A number of suggestions have been proposed, including redefining the border zone for those areas of low risk and absent of active COVID-19 cases. The rules for obtaining passes and exemptions needs to be clear and workable.
I know the people from border communities, who live their lives on both sides of the state boundary, will appreciate practical solutions being found while the Queensland Government has these restrictions in place.