Queanbeyan, Yass and Cooma residents are still banned from flying to Queensland despite the sunshine state opening its borders to parts of northern NSW.
But Queensland health authorities have remained tight-lipped on whether the state would consider including residents from NSW-ACT border communities into its travel bubble with the ACT.
There have been calls for a “border bubble” to be established between NSW and the ACT.
Federal member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain said a bubble could enable travel for residents in the surrounding ACT region. But she encouraged people from ACT and NSW to travel to Eden-Monaro instead.
“The relationship between the ACT and Eden-Monaro communities like Queanbeyan, Googong, Murrumbateman, Bungendore and Yass is similar to that of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta or Albury and Wodonga but hasn’t been recognised in the same way through the creation of a ‘border bubble’,” she said.
“Given the trade, traffic and connections around the NSW-ACT border it makes sense that a ‘border bubble’ be established which includes the relevant travel opportunities.”
ACT residents can travel to Queensland from Friday without having to undertake a 14-day hotel quarantine. They must travel by air and are not allowed to drive through NSW. But people who live or work in Queanbeyan are required to quarantine.
Queensland Health did not answer questions from The Canberra Times on whether the state would consider opening travel to NSW-ACT border communities such as Queanbeyan and Yass.
Instead a spokeswoman emailed a short statement which described the COVID-19 pandemic as a “rapidly evolving situation”.
“Restrictions are subject to change based on the latest health advice and any emerging clusters or outbreaks,” the spokeswoman said.
There has been frustration from people in ACT-NSW border communities such as Queanbeyan and Yass that they were not included in the Queensland or South Australia and ACT travel bubble, despite having a similar COVID-free track record as the territory.
Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron said he hoped the ACT-Queensland bubble would serve an example of how interstate travel could be done safely. He was confident Queensland would open the border to surrounding regions soon.
“I’m hopeful that we can prove up Canberra over the seven days [of airline travel to Queensland] from Friday to Friday, and then hopefully the situation can be relaxed for NSW and other areas around Canberra to fly to Queensland,” he said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian again called for Queensland to open its border to the whole of NSW. She said NSW was in a good position, the state only recorded two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, both were returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
“I do feel it’s appropriate at this time for the Queensland government to consider bringing down the whole border,” she said.
“We can’t be complacent and we always know that we’re only a few days off from another outbreak but so is Queensland.”