Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says a decision on the NSW border is still coming this month, as she fends off attacks from out of state over the issue as well as a new in-land highway proposal that the Federal Government says has no funding.
- Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended plans for an alternative in-land highway between Charters Towers and the NSW border
- A decision on whether Queensland will open its border to NSW will be made before the end of October
- Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has announced plans for an $80 million boost to after-school care
Speaking at the Great Barrier Reef on day 17 of the election campaign, Ms Palaszczuk hit back at NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian after comments that Queensland should pull its weight when it comes to hotel quarantine and returned travellers.
Ms Palaszczuk told the Liberal leader she had “enough of her own internal problems” to deal with, referring to the controversy surrounding her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.
The ongoing tensions between the NSW and Queensland premiers bubbled over again when Ms Palaszczuk was asked if NSW had its coronavirus numbers low enough to allow the border to fully reopen by November 1.
The Queensland Government was expected to make an announcement today on its border status with NSW.
Earlier, Ms Berejiklian accused Queensland of closing its borders “without reason”.
“I’m not going to be lectured by the Premier of New South Wales,” Ms Palaszczuk said in response.
“What happened to all working together? I mean, that’s what we do — we go into that National Cabinet, and we want to work together.”
Ms Palaszczuk said a decision on the borders would be made before the end of October after consultation with the state’s Chief Health Officer.
The stoush comes as Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack labelled Labor’s plans to build an alternative in-land highway from Charters Towers to the NSW border as a “thought bubble”, and said federal funds had already been allocated to other projects.
“There’s already some cooperation happening between the State and Federal Government in relation to [the second Bruce Highway].”
Labor’s plan for an alternative highway comes amid a proposal from Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington to expand the existing Bruce Highway to four lanes in an effort to ease congestion.
“We’ve heard in the past that the Federal Government doesn’t support Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We’ve seen the extra billions of dollars going to Victoria and NSW … I am simply asking for our fair share.”
LNP unveils $80m after-school care plan
As Ms Palaszczuk announced a $40 million environment and tourism boost for the Great Barrier Reef, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington unveiled an $80 million proposal to expand before-and-after school care in state primary schools.
“High costs of care are a major barrier for any parents re-entering the workforce,” Ms Frecklington said, speaking at Tugun on the Gold Coast.
“With long-day centres you have to pay for seven, eight and nine hours, irrespective of the hours that your kids are in care.
“And that is very expensive … I was going to swear then … it is a very expensive process.”
On Wednesday, Ms Frecklington proposed a youth curfew to fight juvenile crime in Cairns and Townsville.
The proposal attracted widespread criticism from human rights groups and Indigenous activists.
It comes amid confirmation the two leaders will face off on the eve of election day in a debate to be held at the Queensland Media Club and broadcasted on Sky News.
With nine days to go before election day, Ms Palaszczuk lamented that she would not enjoy the attractions of Fitzroy Island before taking a 45-minute boat ride back to Cairns.
“Not today,” Ms Palaszczuk said when asked if she planned to go snorkelling or swimming at the Barrier Reef.
“I don’t think people need to see me in a swimsuit at this stage of the campaign.”