“The return of the blunt instrument to Queensland’s border strategy with the lock out of Australia’s largest city is making it incredibly difficult to run national businesses and risking our already wobbly economic recovery,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.
“The closure of the Queensland border to 34 new ‘hot spots’ including greater Sydney was unfortunately made without broad consultation or understanding of how businesses operate.
“The World Health Organisation has argued that closing international borders is not a viable long-term strategy, and this same argument applies even more to state borders.
“Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director WHO Health Emergencies, said this week ‘…It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume.’
“The WHO understands the economic need to open up international borders with appropriate protections and we would urge State Governments to do the same with their own borders. State Governments of course need to take health advice as a top priority but consideration of other factors such as economic hardship also needs to be weighed into a more balanced approach to risk management.
“We need to do as the WHO suggests and prioritise economic recovery while being hyper alert to local outbreaks; maintaining sensible restrictions such as on large gatherings; and promoting social distancing and good hygiene.
“The Melbourne lockdown, the NSW border closure and now the renewed and too broad Queensland border strategy locking out our largest city will result in more business closures and more job losses,” Mr Willox said.