LOCKDOWN: Calls for North Queensland to be cut off from the state

Virus wall: Push for NQ borders to close

POLITICAL leaders are calling for a lockdown to isolate central and northern residents from the spread of coronavirus sweeping the south.

In a show of political unity from rogue, maverick and party liners, state and federal MPs have formed a choir calling for quarantine measures for anyone entering the north beyond Rockhampton.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he had been advised by senior medical professionals that North Queensland's health system was too weak to deal with a large "spike".

"This needs to happen. We are not well resourced enough for a widespread outbreak," he said.

"What we are proposing is the same as what's proposed for people who arrive in the state from outside Queensland."

Dawson MP George Christensen has called for North Queensland to be locked down to stop the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Zizi Averill
Dawson MP George Christensen has called for North Queensland to be locked down to stop the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Zizi Averill

Mr Christensen said the region's lockdown was necessary to stop southerners spreading the disease like "cross pollination".

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has not ruled out the measure, but said it was too early for such drastic steps.

"We are not at that stage yet, I am very comfortable where we are," she said.

As part of the campaign to stop the virus, Ms Palaszczuk has repeatedly reminded people to not travel out of their regions unless it's totally unavoidable.

 

 

In a letter to the premier, Mr Christensen along with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Herbert MP Phil Thompson, and senators Susan McDonald and Matt Canavan, called for the region to be locked down north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Senator Canavan said he supported the Queensland Government's decision to close the border to New South Wales but the establishment of further regional restrictions was required.

"Given the relative few cases in North Queensland, the same logic dictates that we should stop the spread going to North Queensland too," Mr Canavan said.

Mr Canavan said the measures would protect vulnerable agricultural and mining industries and indigenous communities.

Their combined voices add to those of Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig and Keppel MP Brittny Lauga who this week urged Ms Palaszczuk to lock down the north.

Maverick MP and Katter's Australia Party leader Robbie Katter earlier this week called for closures of regional Queensland areas.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly reminded people to not travel out of their regions unless it’s totally unavoidable. Photo: Annette Dew
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly reminded people to not travel out of their regions unless it’s totally unavoidable. Photo: Annette Dew

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Whitsunday MP and North Queensland First leader Jason Costigan said he was pleased to see the major party politicians joining the calls for a regional lockdown.

"All options should be on the table," Mr Costigan said.

He proposed going further, dividing the north into "quadrants" with check points at Gympie, Marlborough, and at the Daintree.

Like the state border restrictions, Mr Christensen said those travelling to and from work, including FIFO workers, would not be affected.

"(But) before anyone gets off a plane … that there needs to be some sort of medical screening," he said.

"Perhaps if you are going to fly in and out for work you should find lodgings here."

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