EXPLAINER

Why border bubble residents can and can't cross between states

The Queensland border at Wallangarra. Photo: File
The Queensland border at Wallangarra. Photo: File

The gates of QLD finally opened up on Monday to NSW residents in the border bubble, yet it isn't a free-for-all.

Tenterfield Shire is included in the bubble, along with Ballina, Byron Bay, City of Lismore, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Gwydir, Kyogle, Moree Plains, Richmond Valley and Tweed Heads.

Only those deemed to have an essential reason may pass, and must follow the mask wearing requirements.

Getting food, essential goods and services for the personal needs of the household which "cannot reasonably be obtained from NSW" can pass.

You can also pass for medical care, supplies or health services - including a scheduled COVID vaccination, a court appointment, to donate blood, for volunteer work that cannot be done from home, to attend school, childcare, university or education centre, provide assistance, care and support to a vulnerable person or family member or fulfill parenting obligations.

You can also cross in emergency situations or for safety - to avoid injury or illness, to escape risk of harm including from domestic violence.

Residents will still require a Border Zone Travel (X Pass) to cross the border, which can be obtained at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass.

Residents cannot cross for weddings, funerals, to exercise, or for any recreational purposes including meeting friends or family for a meal out, holidays, watching sporting events, going to the cinemas, theme parks or other "tourist experiences".

Those who have been to a hotspot in the last 14 days will also be barred from entering the sunshine state.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said an agreement was reached following discussions with QLD Deputy Premier Steven Miles.

"There's no doubt that our border communities have copped the brunt of these border closures and the reintroduction of the border bubble will provide a long overdue sense of normality for locals," Mr Barilaro said.

Why you can cross

According the the QLD Government website, if you are in a non-restricted LGA in the New South Wales border zone you can cross between NSW and Queensland for the below essential purposes:

  • to get food or other essential goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes, which cannot reasonably be obtained within New South Wales or Queensland; or
  • to get medical care or supplies or other health care services, including a scheduled COVID-19 vaccination which cannot reasonably be obtained within New South Wales or Queensland; or
  • to comply with an order to attend or to give effect to a court or tribunal in person in the border zone; or
  • to donate blood or blood products at a scheduled appointment at a blood collection centre in Queensland or New South Wales; or
  • to perform work or volunteering that cannot be done from home; or
  • attend school, childcare, university or any other educational institution or to transport you children to or from these facilities; or
  • provide assistance, care or support to a vulnerable person or family member or visit a terminally ill relative; or
  • fulfil an obligation relating to shared parenting, child contact or contact between siblings; or
  • in an emergency situation; or
  • for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm, including domestic violence); or
  • as directed by an emergency officer; or

You must follow face mask requirements while you're in Queensland.

If you are permitted to cross the border for work or volunteering, you will need to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why you cannot cross

You cannot cross the border:

  • if you have been in a restricted NSW border zone LGA (or any other COVID-19 hotspot) in the last 14 days
  • to attend a wedding or funeral
  • to exercise
  • for recreational purposes, including:
    • meeting friends or family for a meal out
    • holidays
    • spectating at professional sporting events
    • attending cinemas, theme parks or other tourist experiences.
  • meeting friends or family for a meal out
  • holidays
  • spectating at professional sporting events
  • attending cinemas, theme parks or other tourist experiences.
  • meeting friends or family for a meal out
  • holidays
  • spectating at professional sporting events
  • attending cinemas, theme parks or other tourist experiences.
  • meeting friends or family for a meal out
  • holidays
  • spectating at professional sporting events
  • attending cinemas, theme parks or other tourist experiences.

NSW border zone residents must not undertake any of these activities while in Queensland even if you have entered for an essential purpose.