BORDER BATTLES: A NSW grey nomad attempts to cross the Queensland border. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
BORDER BATTLES: A NSW grey nomad attempts to cross the Queensland border. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

‘GO HOME’: Border towns call for closure to be reinstated

BRING back the wall: that's the call from the border residents of Goondiwindi, who have overwhelmingly voted in support of closures being brought back.

Last night, a poll was posted to the Goondiwindi Noticeboard Facebook page, asking the question "Should Our Borders Be CLOSED AGAIN?

At the time of reporting, an unanimous 725 residents had voted yes, with only 34 voting no.

With border reopenings commencing at midday July 10, less than a week in, many residents were spurred to call for closures following fresh coronavirus cases in NSW and Victoria.

Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg said the survey matched community feedback.

"It's no surprise that many of the Goondiwindi region locals have reported being in favour of border closures," he said.

"When the borders were opened, I conveyed that the community had a degree of trepidation - this sentiment hasn't changed."

One of these concerned residents was business owner Jeff Banfield.

Mr Banfield, who runs Country Roads Motor Inn, said a second lockdown would close doors for good.

"The April and May lockdown was a disaster," he said.

"Government workers, tradies, truck drivers - they weren't travelling. But once Anna allowed the state to move around, they came back out and that helped us out.

"If we got into another pandemic, it would destroy my business. I can run at 50 per cent and survive or run at 15 per cent and go under."

Mr Banfield said interstate visitors only accounted for 30 per cent of his trade, and that he and many fellow business owners had successfully diversified during closure.

"I usually run at 80 per cent occupancy, last month it was 50 per cent. To me, that's pretty good considering," he said.

"Gundy did reinvent itself, all the takeaway and restaurants found a new way to serve.

"My fear is that that virus will go through town quicker than a bad rumour if we let it."

The accommodation provider called for all visitors to be locked out with "no if or buts".

"There shouldn't be any quarantine. Just go home, come back next year," he said.

 

The Queensland and NSW state border has been packed with visitors ever since last week’s opening. Picture by Richard Gosling
The Queensland and NSW state border has been packed with visitors ever since last week’s opening. Picture by Richard Gosling

 

One woman who disagreed was Pip Hann.

With her Year 11 daughter just recently enrolled for Term 3 at Toowoomba's Fairholme College, the risk of closed borders was too great to bear.

"Last term, we had permission to take her there but that was it. It was really hard, "she said.

"This is a 10-week long term. If they suddenly said it was closed again, we'd have to send her home. We couldn't deal with that long of a period without seeing her."

The mother, who lived east of Bellata over the border, applied for a Goondiwindi border pass during the last school term but was denied, and asked for Queensland to show some compassion for families.

"There has to be some sort of common sense with restrictions," she said.

"I know it's scary but it can be managed without closing borders completely. Parents have to be able to visit their children."


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