Border may open by the end of June

 

A legal challenge against the constitutional right of the Queensland government to keep the state's borders closed has hit a snag.

The High Court in Brisbane has refused an application from lawyers for the Travel Essence challenge to access the documents used by the government when it decided to close the border.

Chief Justice Susan Kiefel said on Wednesday the application was "a fishing expedition" and "subsidiary" to the constitutional matter at hand. The matter will return to court for a directions hearing alongside two challenges by billionaire businessman Clive Palmer.

Mr Palmer is challenging border closures in Queensland and Western Australia. The Travel Essence challenge is understood to be a group of tourism operators arguing the closure was causing them financial harm. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has previously refused to reverse her decision to keep the borders closed, saying she's keeping Queenslanders safe.

RELATED: Karl Stefanovic calls Palaszczuk government arrogant

Ms Palaszczuk has pointed to the end of June as a possible reopening of the borders as the state records no new cases.
Ms Palaszczuk has pointed to the end of June as a possible reopening of the borders as the state records no new cases.

RELATED: Billboard launch to push government to open the borders

Meanwhile, Ms Palaszczuk has pointed to the end of June as a possible reopening of the borders as the state records no new cases and NSW reported just three from returning travellers.

The Queensland Premier said the figures out of NSW were "very encouraging", reiterating that the state would consider opening the borders as it entered stage three of the road map to recovery. However, it is understood Ms Palaszczuk wanted to keep borders closed until Victoria and NSW went 28 days without recording a new coronavirus case.

"And as I said previously, the health of Queenslanders is my number one priority," she said.

"And with some community transmission happening in other states, Queenslanders tell me they do not want a second wave and I do not want a second wave.

"I have made it absolutely clear that we will be looking at that at the end of the month as we enter stage three," she said.

"We are seeing a fantastic health response here in Queensland.

"We are in stage two. In stage two, it does not talk about interstate travel. There is still some community transmission in Victoria. There are still some 360 active cases but it is very encouraging that NSW is now starting to record zero new cases."

Michael Hart MP, right, has installed a giant billboard to push the state government to reopen borders. Picture Glenn Hampson
Michael Hart MP, right, has installed a giant billboard to push the state government to reopen borders. Picture Glenn Hampson

Ms Palaszczuk's comments come after her government denied the state's border closure was creating financial hardship for businesses, saying health risks assoc­iated with COVID-19 were a substantial threat to the safety of the state and its people.

"The purpose of the border restrictio­n direction is to protect persons within Queensland from the health risks associated with COVID-19," their defence document says.

Earlier this week, State Member for Burleigh Heads, Michael Hart, took the fight to reopen the borders to the sky - by installing a giant billboard pleading with the Queensland government to reopen the borders, or cost the state more jobs.

The billboard, which has been installed at the Reedy Creek and Bermuda Street intersection says "planes equals jobs" and asks the government to "open Queensland's border".

It's the second billboard in as many weeks to be launched against the Premier, who is standing firm on the border closure despite reporting zero cases in the past 24 hours, and the state having just three active.

Originally published as Border may open by the end of June


Death row dog fight goes to Supreme Court

premium_icon Death row dog fight goes to Supreme Court

Sunshine Coast mum in bid to save her 'dangerous' dog

Local COVID-19 case leads to call for exemption changes

premium_icon Local COVID-19 case leads to call for exemption changes

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for changes to exemptions

Unlikely destination emerges for next Coast flights

premium_icon Unlikely destination emerges for next Coast flights

Another domestic route could be set to open up from the Coast