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Goondiwindi region not classed as ‘outback’ during easing of restrictions

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Mayor of the Goondiwindi region the Honourable Lawrence Springborg has spoken directly with Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young to clarify why the Goondiwindi region has not been included in the ‘outback’ category of the Queensland Government’s ‘Roadmap to Easing Restrictions’.

The Goondiwindi region is not included in the list of 23 ‘outback’ regions in the state which will receive special considerations as COVID-19 restrictions are eased over the next few months. The neighbouring region of Balonne Shire is included in the list.

Cr Springborg said the Outback clarification, will provide local businesses with the certainty they need to begin to plan for operation within the guidelines of the Roadmap.

“It’s a pretty tough decision, but the line had to be drawn somewhere and the Goondiwindi region is in that interesting boundary that is not really South East Queensland and yet not really ‘outback’,” Cr Springborg said.

“Although there have been no cases of COVID-19 in the Goondiwindi region, there have been confirmed cases in some of our neighbouring regions,” the Mayor said.

Dr Young stated “People who live in adjacent regions to the Outback [like Goondiwindi region] may also not have had any cases, but they live closer to areas that will have had cases. People in these adjacent areas can travel up to 150kms from 15 May which may take them to areas with cases. They can’t travel into the outback area except for essential or compassionate reasons.  The boundary for “Outback Queensland” was drawn to try to protect those people who live in remote Queensland. They do not have the same ready access to healthcare and their population tends to have a higher proportion of vulnerable people. 

Dr Young also said “Other people are restricted from travelling into Outback Queensland unless for an essential or compassionate reason. Although it means people in Outback Queensland have more freedom to move around that part of Queensland they can’t leave the outback except for essential reasons such as work, education or healthcare or for compassionate reasons.

Cr Springborg said the Queensland Government’s Roadmap will allow Goondiwindi region businesses to get ready for each stage of eased restrictions and to prepare a COVID SAFE Plan if necessary.

“The Roadmap means we can begin look beyond this moment and towards future opportunities. From next week [15 May 2020] we will be able to have up to ten people in our cafes, restaurants and pubs, with additional patrons being allowed in June - and with retail shopping once again allowed we can start to get back to a new normality,.”

Council encourages businesses to start organising their plan now – visit www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/covid-19-restrictions/easing for more information.

Published: 9th May 2020