Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made a promise to her state — and the country — that no matter what happens, she can’t go back on.
The Sunshine State is looking a little brighter already.
After months of locking out residents, keeping family members apart and putting millions of dollars of holidays on ice — a “locked in” border reopening has been announced.
But it’s those two words uttered by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during Monday’s road map out of lockdown announcement that she will need to live by — or expect to face the wrath of not only her state, but the entire country.
The premier announced that from November 17 — vaccinated Australians from ‘hot spot’ locations such as Sydney or Melbourne will be able to jump on a plane and land in Queensland. The clincher? They will still need to undertake 14 days of home quarantine.
One month later, on December 17 when the state of Queensland will likely reach the 80 per cent vaccination milestone, quarantine will be scrapped for the double jabbed and you’ll be able to cruise into the state by car as well as by air.
It’s a Christmas miracle, and while cutting it fine to the big day — family and friends will be able to enjoy Christmas side-by-side rather than on Skype.
“We have to reunite families. This is fundamental,” the premier said.
“We know that the world is a big place and there are families across Australia and there are families across the world and people have been telling me how they missed seeing their uncles, their aunts, their mothers, their fathers, their children.
“This is really important that we unite Queenslanders but we do it in the safest way. We are going to try to minimise the risk and there are key steps along the path.”
It’s fair to say that since the pandemic first reared its ugly head back in early 2020, the contentious topic of domestic border closures has been one of the biggest headaches and heartbreaks of all.
Families kept apart, final moments missed.
And that’s why if a delay of any kind in this road map happens, Australia won’t be so forgiving.
Queensland, along with Western Australia, have had some of the hardest borders in place throughout the pandemic. It’s a move some premier’s argue have kept their states safe — while others question whether it has done more harm than good.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet this week announced the state would be scrapping quarantine from November 1. The announcement — along with advising what changes would come into place once NSW hit 80 per cent was met with criticism from the state’s northern neighbour.
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles took a swipe at NSW after Ms Palaszczuk announced Queensland’s reopening dates.
Mr Miles said, unlike NSW, Queensland had been governed by a premier with a “measured, cautious and safe approach”.
“One that is informed by the best health advice, which puts the safety and health of Queenslanders and our economic interests first,” he said.
“It’s based on the best advice and the best available modelling, not a series of reckless decisions as we have seen from New South Wales.”
Reckless or not, the promise has been made. Let’s just hope that by Christmas, a trip to Cairns will be as welcome as a flight to California.