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MP Slams Qld border response

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis has declared the Qld Government’s response to his requests to include the Clarence Valley in the recently extended border bubble as “un-Australian.”

Mr Gulaptis has written to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on numerous occasions, urging her to consider allowing Clarence Valley residents entry to the Sunshine State.

In his letters, Mr Gulaptis outlined the strong social and economic ties between the Clarence Valley and Qld.

He said visiting families, people travelling for business, educational or medical purposes, or for the simple pleasure of holidaying, all contribute significantly to boosting their local economy.

Last month, Qld announced the relaxing of their border restrictions to allow residents from Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes shires to visit from October 1.

However, the Clarence Valley was excluded from the list, prompting Mr Gulaptis to ask, why?

While he has previously described the easing of border restrictions by the Qld Government as a “positive step”, Mr Gulaptis said the exclusion of the Clarence Valley local government area doesn’t make any sense, labelling the response he has received as “pathetic.”

“I wrote to Ms Palaszczuk twice in recent weeks explaining the anomaly of including Local Government Areas like Glen Innes but not the Clarence Valley in the border exemption zone and pointed out that we have a cleaner Covid-19 record than south east Qld, with no cases reported in months,” Mr Gulaptis said, adding the Clarence Valley poses no health risks to communities north of the border.

“The two-page response I received from Ms Palaszczuk’s office claims she is relying on the best medical and scientific advice, but merely commits to ‘noting’ my representations on behalf of the Clarence Valley.

“This is disappointing as it ignores the science and deprives both areas of much needed economic activity.

“We pose no health risk to Queenslanders and this is un-Australian.

“We have never needed a passport to cross the border into Qld and Henry Parkes would be rolling over in his grave.”

The Clarence Valley is the only part of the Northern NSW Local Health District currently excluded from the extended border bubble.

Many residents have vented their frustrations on Mr Gulaptis’s official Facebook page, referring to the exclusion as strange, ridiculous and an absolute joke.

While he continues asking Ms Palaszczuk to reconsider allowing Clarence Valley residents entry to Qld, Mr Gulaptis stated the best locals can hope for now is a change of Government at the Queensland State election on October 31.