Major changes to restrictions for border towns
THE Balonne Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) has been advised that renewed State Government border control measures will take effect from 1am Saturday, 8 August.
The Queensland Government has advised that state borders will be closed to three declared COVID-19 hot spots: all of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and all of Victoria.
A border zone will be established to allow residents of border towns to cross the border when they need to do so.
Balonne Shire postcodes included in the border zone are 4486 (Hebel and Dirranbandi) and 2406 (Mungindi).
Border Zone Residents
A border zone resident is classified as someone who lives in Queensland, but goes to work or school in their neighbouring border town in New South Wales; or someone who lives in New South Wales, but goes to work or school in their neighbouring border town in Queensland.
Balonne Shire border zone residents can cross the border for any purpose, including work, school, medical treatment, recreation, or social activities.
However, those activities MUST be confined to the border zone if they are undertaking them outside of Queensland.
In the New South Wales border zone, they must follow that state’s relevant public health directives.
To cross the border, Balonne Shire residents of postcodes 4486 and 2406 will still require a Queensland Border Declaration Pass; a border declaration pass is valid for 7 days from the date you complete it.
Balonne Shire residents must also carry their license or other identification which proves they live in postcodes 4486 or 2406.
Balonne Shire Residents of postcodes 4486 and 2406 will need to complete a new border declaration pass every 7 days if they are frequently crossing the state border - or more regularly if their circumstances change, including if they develop COVID-19 symptoms within 7 days of completing the pass.
Returning from a hotspot
Balonne Shire residents will be required to quarantine for 14 days in a State Government-approved facility (at their own expense) if they cross the border to the COVID-19 hot spots of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria.
Residents can only re-enter Queensland from a hotspot if they travel by air; they are not permitted to travel by road through a hotspot.
The only people allowed to enter Queensland by road are truck drivers, freight and logistics workers, essential workers, and border zone residents.
Workers providing essential and specialist services will still be able to enter Queensland under specific conditions, which differ across various industries.
The full list of essential professions and their exemption rules can be found here.
Keeping the community safe
Balonne LDMG Chair Samantha O’Toole is urging all residents of the shire to follow all public health directives to keep the region COVID-free.
“Our State Government has been clear about imposing a hard border to all COVID-19 hot spots; the ability for essential workers and border zone residents to cross our state border is the exception rather than the rule,” she said.
“It is allowing those in the unique position of living and working in border communities to continue going about their lives in a way that is both safe and practical.
“All other public health directives relating to COVID-19 remain in place for everyone across our shire, and I commend the majority of our residents for actively following the rules to keep our communities COVID-free.”