Palaszczuk: The intention is "not to disrupt" border communities

Palaszczuk: The intention is "not to disrupt" border communities

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) says the state disaster coordinator "is throwing everything at this" to make the border closure with NSW happens with as little disruption as possible.

It is an issue that is of particular concern to communities living in the Tweed region, whose lives and businesses are heavily tied to the Gold Coast. 

After announcing Infrastructure Minister Cameron Dick had been put in charge of securing the state's supply chains, the Premier said the QLD-NSW border would be closed as of midnight.

"I ask people to be patient, but I also ask people if you do not need to come to Queensland, please do not come to Queensland," she said.

"In relation to those border restrictions the intention is not to disrupt those communities like the Tweed that live very close, but there are exemptions and we're hoping to get those exemptions put together as quickly as possible."

"We know that people living in the Tweed have a legitimate business here in Queensland. It's very close proximity, so we are trying to make it as easy as possible for those residents...we're getting the permit system done as quickly as possible."

State Infrastructure Minister Cameron Dick has congratulated Queensland businesses like Bundaberg Rum and Sunshine Coast sunscreen and aloe vera gel producer Concept Labs for repurposing their operations to produce ethanol for hand sanitisers.

"Queensland businesses and manufacturers have responded magnificently to this call," he said.

"I'm pleased to announce there are no fundamental shortages of supply of goods or essential household goods; we grow and process so much of our own food in Queensland, and we produce many household goods here in our state.

"What we've seen at supermarkets with empty shelves is not because of a problem in supply, it's been a problem of demand and behaviour, but that is now ebbing; that is now going back to more normal levels across Queensland, and I want to thank the retailers and supermarkets for actively managing that, particularly through self-regulating the supply of products to what people need."

He described three critical streams the department was focusing on: the supply of essential goods; the manufacture, procurement and supply of health system personnel protective equipment (PVE) as well as other health products and equipment; and support for impacted businesses and industries.

The Premier also announced the state's 470 camping areas would be closed tomorrow as part of social distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"This is really important - we need the message to get out. There are no school holidays, we will be having a school break," she said.

"As we know, today is going to be a tough day for a lot of other businesses that work in various industries as they will have either restrictions or will have to be closing.

"I know that no one likes to be making these decisions, but we have to do it in the interest of everybody in terms of protecting people."

The state, which now has 443 cases of the virus, has conducted 29,282 tests for Covid-19.

"This puts us as one of the highest testing states in the nation," the Premier said.

With regards to the council elections taking place in Queensland, Palaszczuk says voting is very low risk and the majority of the population has already been pre-polling.

"Of course there will be exemptions for people who are unwell and cannot turn up to vote.

"We're going to get through this. I know we're going to get through this, just as we did 100 years ago with the Spanish Flu pandemic."

On the latest count there are now 2368 cases of Covid-19 in Australia, of which almost half are in NSW.

Updated at 2:23pm AEDT on 25 March 2020.

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