A plan for Queensland’s borders
Monday 18 October: We’re pleased to see a roadmap to the reopening of Queensland.
However, there are elements of it that are of great concern in relation to domestic and international arrivals, and there are a number of questions that the roadmap raises.
Whilst the plan is a meaningful step forward toward the new normal of living with COVID-19 and, more importantly, reuniting families and friends across the country, it would appear Queenslanders will be many months behind their interstate family and friends.
Clarification is needed on the determination of a domestic ‘hotspot’ once a community meets 80 per cent vaccination rates. It is widely accepted that COVID-19 case numbers will not decline to zero, so hotspot definitions cannot be based on case numbers for much longer.
This clarity is essential if we are to understand how and when vaccinated interstate travellers will be able to return to Queensland without having to quarantine.
Furthermore, pre-arrival testing, and the additional costs associated for travellers, will significantly dampen demand as has been demonstrated in overseas markets that have already opened up.
Under this plan, the 90 per cent vaccination rate milestone is the only opportunity for non-Australian citizens to enter Queensland directly from overseas. We are concerned that this threshold is significantly higher than the National Cabinet’s roadmap and other states’ roadmaps.
It appears from the plan that while NSW, and likely Victoria, will be opening their international borders to vaccinated travellers with no requirement for quarantine, Queensland will still be imposing either home or hotel quarantine even after we meet the 80 per cent vaccinated population threshold.
If a fully vaccinated traveller from Melbourne can come to Queensland and not be required to quarantine once we have reached the 80 per cent vaccinated population milestone, a fully vaccinated person from Los Angeles should also be able to come to Queensland and not be required to quarantine.
BAC is deeply concerned that this will see international airlines exit the Queensland market for interstate destinations where they can operate without the profit-killing impost of passenger caps. It would be an absolute tragedy, as it would take several years and significant investment to try and recover these airlines and services.
This simply means Queensland will be uncompetitive from an aviation perspective and will kill demand for visitation.