Clarence Valley Councillors have voted unanimously on a motion to request that the Premier and the Chief Health Officer of Queensland relax the border restrictions and allow residents from the Clarence Valley local government area to enter Queensland without having to quarantine for 14 days.
It follows an announcement on Tuesday 22 September by the Queensland Government, to extend the border travel zone; the Clarence Valley is the only council area in the Northern Rivers to be excluded from the new travel bubble.
Clarence Valley Mayor Cr Jim Simmons expressed his disappointment at the decision and pointed out that all other Local Government areas in the Northern NSW Local Health Network (Byron Shire, Ballina Shire, Lismore City, Kyogle Shire, Richmond Valley as well as Tweed Shire) were now included.
“I’m really perplexed as to the rationale behind why the Clarence Valley has been left out of the travel bubble.
“According to the Northern NSW Local Health District the last case of COVID-19 in the Northern Rivers was in Byron Bay on 25 July; the last recorded here in the Clarence Valley was 6 months ago on the 28 March.
“The announcement is obviously upsetting for many residents; the Clarence Valley has strong human and economic ties with South East Queensland.”
“With the M1 upgrade nearing completion, the journey to the border is now under 2 hours and people are keen to travel, to reunite with loved ones and get back to doing business.”
“Our community relies on the range of specialist health services in the Gold Coast and Brisbane.”
“Queensland companies are engaged in multi-million dollar projects in the Clarence Valley and the border closure is causing delays, financial loses and inconvenience for people on both sides of the border”
“I understand and respect why the Queensland Government has been cautious relaxing border restrictions, but I would like to personally ask the Premier to extend the travel bubble to include the Clarence Valley Council area,” Cr Simmons said.