Border farce tipped to cost nation $33b

 

THE "inconsistent and disproportionate" approach to borders could cost the national economy $33 billion, as well as jobs, a senior Morrison Government Minister will say as pressure is ramped up in Queensland ahead of National Cabinet on Friday.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham will seize of new research, to be released to today which predicts devastating losses for the industry.

The pressure is coming down ahead of what is expected to be a heated National Cabinet on Friday, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison will present a plan for a national COVID-19 hotspot definition, with a traffic light system for border closures.

Tourism Research Australia analysis will show that interstate tourism was predicted to be worth $33 billion in this financial year.

But the data was based on borders being open from July, sparking warnings if borders continue to remain shut into next year that money is at risk.

Senator Birmingham said he urged state and territory leaders to take a "sensible and proportionate" approach to border restrictions, because it would save businesses and jobs.

"Inconsistent and disproportionate approaches to border restrictions by some states and territories will continue to cause job losses in parts of our tourism industry," he said.

"Our airlines, airports, hotels and tour operators rely on people doing more than taking a short self-drive holiday and we risk more job losses in these sectors if borders remain shut any longer than is necessary."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier this week said she had not seen Mr Morrison's hotspot plan, which will be presented on Friday, but indicated she would not budget on borders.

"Queenslanders will continue to have our borders closed to keep Queenslanders safe," she said.

It comes as border tensions escalate between Queensland and NSW.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian blasted Annastacia Palaszczuk for acting without talking to her and "refusing to budge" on compassionate issues.

"Let me be frank. She has made a decision and isn't willing to talk about that decision and is refusing to budge."

Ms Palaszczuk said she had no problems with working with the NSW Premier or any other leader.

"I don't have any issues working with any of my colleagues around the country," she said.

She said she was speaking to the NSW Premier later that day, but had not received a phone call prior to the complaints.



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