‘I hope she returns my call’: NSW Premier rebukes Qld Premier over border silence

The New South Wales Premier has issued a stunning rebuke of the Queensland Premier’s handling of the border restrictions, saying Annastacia Palaszczuk isn’t willing to talk to her.

Gladys Berejiklian was repeatedly asked this morning whether she had “picked up the phone” to talk to her counterpart about Queensland’s ongoing border closure.

“Can I be absolutely frank, she has made a decision and isn’t willing to talk about that decision and is refusing to budge,” Ms Berejiklian told 2GB radio station.

“It’s not through want of trying.

“I’ve tried to establish a positive relationship but it’s a bit difficult when decisions are made without them even telling us.”

Ms Berejiklian said she had been looking to replicate conversations she had held in relation to the state’s border restrictions with Victoria.

“And can I compare that to [Labor’s Victorian Premier] Dan Andrews and the Prime Minister, the three of us worked together on a very difficult decision on the Victoria-NSW border, and I’d like to see that applied to all borders,” Ms Berejiklian said.

She said Queensland posed more of a risk to New South Wales, given there had not been a case of coronavirus north of Newcastle since March. 

Police at the head of a long line of traffic on a highway at the Gold Coast.
Long lines of traffic heading into the Gold Coast at the Queensland-NSW border in June.(ABC News: Dominic Cansdale)

Queensland considers all of New South Wales a hotspot for the purposes of travel, with exemptions in place, however, there is no ban on Queensland residents moving freely into New South Wales. 

“I’ve reached out to her again this morning and I hope she returns my [call] and has time to speak to me today,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Nothing would give me greater pleasure today than to speak with her about concerns that we have in New South Wales.”

Asked about the comments this morning, Ms Palaszczuk rejected the assertions but provided no detail about her working relationship with the New South Wales Premier.

“I don’t have any issues working with any of my colleagues around the country, in fact we all have very good working relationships,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

PM sends states draft for national definition of hotspots

The ABC understands the Prime Minister’s office has sent details of a proposed national definition of hotspots to all state and territory leaders ahead of Friday’s national cabinet meeting.

Scott Morrison has called for the national definition in order to streamline border restrictions and ensure a uniform system across the country.

'Road closed' signs and concrete blocks on a rural road.
A road near Goondiwindi was blocked earlier this year to prevent people arriving to Queensland from NSW.(Supplied: Kelly Ostwald)

Ms Palaszczuk has so far not indicated any support for the proposal.

Currently, each state and territory have ad-hoc arrangements regarding border restrictions.

The public rebuke by Ms Berejiklian comes after mounting pressure on Ms Palaszczuk to relax the rules for people seeking travel on compassionate grounds.

In response, earlier this week Ms Palaszczuk announced a special unit would be set up within the health department to oversee and fast-track applications for medical exemptions into the state.