In a letter to the Palaszczuk Government on the 24 September the Clarence Valley Council officially requested that the Local Government Area be included in the Northern NSW – QLD Border Bubble, which came into force on Thursday 1 October.
Deputy Mayor, Cr Jason Kingsley said that while he understands why the Queensland Government had taken a cautious approach in reopening their borders, the current situation has left many in the Clarence Valley community scratching their heads.
“We appreciate that the Qld Government had to draw the line somewhere, but we would like to emphasise that we are a part of the Northern Rivers and the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD).”
“Due to our geographical location Clarence Valley residents rely on essential health and other services that are only available in the larger centres in South East Queensland.”
“And I would like to echo the sentiments of Wayne Jones, the Chief Executive of NNSWLHD who expressed his concerns that communities in the Clarence Valley had been excluded.”
“The reality is, parts of the Clarence Valley are well under two hours from the Gold Coast – this compares to a 7 hour drive to Sydney.”
“It is cruel to expect residents living in Maclean or Yamba to have to travel hundreds of kilometres to Newcastle or Sydney, when people in Evans Head can now access the very same services in less than 2 hours in South East Queensland.”
The Deputy Mayor also pointed out that the proximity of the Clarence Valley to Queensland had meant that Queensland businesses and contractors were also being directly affected by the closure.
“A specialist turf layer had to terminate a contract in Iluka as they could not afford to quarantine their workers on return to Queensland.”
“The building and construction industry is also experiencing issues accessing trades and supplies that would normally come from south east Queensland.”
“The Clarence Valley needs to be brought in line with neighbouring Councils to our north and west – waiting until a potential general NSW border reopening date of 1 November is not justified in the Clarence Valley’s case, which has not seen any active cases of COVID in over 6 months” Cr Kingsley added.
The Palaszczuk Government today announced (Friday) that the border would open to NSW residents on the 1 November provided no community transmission takes place.
Clarence Valley residents who are upset about the exclusion can write to the Hon. A Palaszczuk directly requesting that the Clarence Valley be included in the Border Bubble.