BREAKING NEWS: ‘It could be tomorrow’: Interstate holidays may be back on the cards for millions of Aussies THIS WEEK as South Australia moves to reopen its borders
- SA Premier Steven Marshall is tipped to reopen his state to NSW and the ACT
- The ruling is expected to be made at the state’s transition committee on Tuesday
- Eastern residents will be allowed to enter SA without 14-days of quarantine
Premier Steven Marshall is set to announce South Australia will drop its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW and the ACT.
Speculation is growing the state’s transition committee will drop the 14-day quarantine requirements on Tuesday.
But Mr Marshall says he will not do anything that is contrary to health advice.
‘We want to give as much of a leg up to those people who want to travel as soon as possible,’ the premier said on Monday.
‘The numbers are looking really good. Just four new (coronavirus) cases in NSW. If they give us the advice tomorrow, we’ll be very quick to open that border.
‘I’m very keen to open that border the minute I get the advice that it’s safe to do so.’
South Australia is set to reopen to NSW and ACT this week, allowing eastern residents to travel to the state without spending 14-days in quarantine. Pictured: Barossa Valley
In other changes to coronavirus rules, the premier said he was hopeful crowds of up to 25,000, or about 50 per cent capacity, would be possible at Adelaide Oval for any AFL finals matches.
He said significant crowds were at games over the weekend, and SA Health officials were reviewing how those games were managed to consider any next steps in increasing numbers.
SA reported no new virus cases on Monday, leaving the state’s total since the start of the pandemic at 466.
The state has no active infections.
Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has faced growing calls to reopen her state for the sake of the national economy.
The pandemic-induced lockdowns and border restrictions have jeopardised one million tourism jobs, and are set to cost the country a whopping $54.6billion this year.
But on Monday, Ms Palaszczuk doubled down on her stance, telling reporters she is prepared lose the election to maintain hard borders and keep COVID-19 out of her state.
SA Premier Steven Marshall (pictured) is expected to make the announcement on Tuesday
The premier has come under sustained fire from federal Coalition politicians like Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the state’s opposition Liberal National Party over the Queensland’s strict border policies in recent weeks.
Political opponents have accused Ms Palaszczuk of being heartless for not being more lenient about exemptions on compassionate grounds ahead of the election on October 31.
She’s promised to speed up the exemption application process, but she will stake her political future on keeping borders shut.
‘Now if it means I have to lose the election, I will risk all that if it means keeping Queenslanders safe,’ Ms Palaszczuk said on Monday.
‘I will always stand up for what I believe to be right in this state. I’m putting myself out there, I’m putting myself on the line, but I’m making no apologies for keeping Queenslanders safe during this time.’
The premier said Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia had closed borders but their governments were not under pressure to reopen.
Ms Palaszczuk accused political opponents of trying to “tear Queensland apart” because the health response to COVID-19 had left the state in better situation than others.
‘In Queensland people are going about their normal jobs as if almost life was back to normal,’ she said.
‘I’m not going to risk all of that, why would anyone risk that?’
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has doubled-down on her hard-border restrictions despite growing calls for the state to reopen
Ms Palaszczuk’s comments come as the stepsister of a woman denied permission to go to her father’s funeral accused the prime minister of using her family’s tragedy to advance his political agenda.
Alexandra Prendergast is the stepsister Sarah Caisip, who was in quarantine after arriving in the state from Canberra and not allowed to attend her father Bernard’s funeral in Brisbane.
The prime minister on Thursday called Ms Palaszczuk asking her to intervene but she would only refer it to the chief health officer.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington asked the premier about Ms Caisip’s case in state parliament on the day, and later Mr Morrison phoned 2GB radio host Ray Hadley to talk about the case live on air.
In the end, Queensland Health gave Ms Caislip, 26, permission to view her father’s body, alone and dressed in full PPE, after the funeral on Thursday.
Footage and photos of Ms Caisip and her family were shown on TV news and in the newspapers.
Ms Caisip’s stepsister reprimanded the prime minister and accused him of conjuring up a media storm, marring her final memories of her father.
‘Mr Morrison, I am extremely disappointed that you have used my family to try and advance your political agenda. Your announcement of my father’s funeral (on radio) prompted a media circus outside the crematorium at which the service was held,’ Ms Prendergast, 32, wrote in an open letter to the prime minister published by various media outlets.
‘I am devastated that the final memories of my father have been marred by the media you have used to prosecute your political agenda.’
Ms Prendergast said Mr Morrison’s actions made ‘an absolutely devastating time for my family even harder’.
‘Sarah Caisip should not have been used as a tool to vilify the actions of the Queensland premier and health department’ on border controls, she wrote.
Ms Prendergast called on Mr Morrison to apologise because while he highlighted her family’s case ‘there (have) been many, many other cases that are very similar to this case where he has not intervened’.