United on both sides of the border

United on both sides of the border

Police officers on the border are currently making the call on who can enter Queensland. But politicians in both states want the system changed.

The hard closure has been labelled ridiculous by state MP Janelle Saffin as local residents are cut off from farms and businesses, and QLD Southern Downs MP James Lister has urged that state's chief medical officer to change the rules.

Mr Lister said police officers on the border had been left to make a call on whether work was essential.

Entry into Queensland has been restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing number of cases across NSW.

Currently, residents can enter Queensland to carry out essential work if they have a border pass, have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination, or returned a negative COVID-19 test in the previous three days and have not travelled outside of the border region in the previous 14 days.

While there have been no positive cases locally, the entire state is under a stay-at-home order, and other states have closed their borders to NSW.

Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said dealing with decisions on case-by-case basis was not an ideal solution.

Cr Petty attended an online meeting last week, which included the cross border commissioner James McTavish and representatives from border councils.

"People with issues, they need to contact the cross border commissioner and they will deal with them," Cr Petty said.

"That's not a great solution, but that's what they've got to deal with."

In last week's meeting with the cross border commissioner, Cr Petty said he was joined by council representatives from Tweed Head, west to the Moree Plains and Goondiwindi.

"There were not many solutions but in these times we're living we need to have (these meetings) on a regular basis. They keep us up to speed in the changing environment we live in," he said.

Ms Saffin has called on the Deputy Premier John Barilaro to turn his attention to border communities facing serious hardships during the hard border closure.

"Jennings Wallangarra is an example of the sort of ridiculous situation that exists," Ms Saffin said.

"(It) shares a postcode, a general store and a pub. They are one community and residents rely on services from both sides of the border.

"However, there are now border bollards cutting of the entrance to the pub, which is on the NSW side of the border, while the general store is in Queensland.

"The general store owner is a NSW resident but the general store has a Queensland address, so he may have to close it as he doesn't live in Queensland.

"There is a farmer who can't get access to his livestock is in QLD, people whose small business or shop is in QLD, yet their residence is in NSW. There are more and many are really sad stories," she said.

The Lismore electorate has many border communities where people live their daily lives across both sides of the border and Ms Saffin said she had people coming to her with similar problems.

"I have been working hard to help people and small businesses from all these communities," she said.