November 23, 2021
Negotiating the Queensland border after the State reopens to visitors from interstate “hotspots” may have become a bit easier.
There had been fears the $150 cost of getting a PCR COVID-19 test would deter visitors from NSW, Victoria and the ACT (all still declared COVID-19 hotspots).
But on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt had confirmed the government would fund the PCR tests required to enter Queensland.
Interstate domestic travellers will not have to pay if they require a test as a result of a State or Territory public health order, so long as the test is done at a government clinic and only a text message is required for the result.
Queensland is not the only State requiring a PCR test.
South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia also require negative PCR COVID-19 tests 72 hours before entry under their re-opening border rules.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Queensland’s temporary PCR testing requirement would remain in place for domestic travel from hotspots until 90 per cent of eligible Queenslanders had received a double dose of vaccination.
As soon as the 90 per cent milestone is reached, domestic travellers from hotspots who were fully vaccinated would not require a PCR test.
The State Government will accept proof of a negative PCR test result via a text message or other digital means.
- External link: Different types of COVID-19 tests explained
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While the 80 per cent double vaccination deadline of December 17 is creating uncertainty for tourism operators, it is also creating headaches for the South Burnett Speedway Club.
“After numerous consultations with both Queensland Health and the Office Of Sport and Recreation, we believe we come under the banner of ‘outdoor entertainment’, even though we are not a sporting stadium,” a club spokesperson said on Tuesday.
If this is the case, patrons to the next speedway event – scheduled for December 18 – would be required to show proof of full vaccination.
“The area is very grey at the moment but we are trying to follow the directive from the Queensland Government concerning this issue,” the spokesperson said.
“We have a race meeting … the day after Queensland is expected to hit the 80 per cent double vaccination mark where these new rules/laws will come into effect.
“Going forward for our future events, including the Kings Royal in January 2022, we will be following what guidelines are put down for us by the governing bodies.
“If this means double vaccination to enter our event, please understand this is out of our control and only abiding by the rules and regulations set down for us.”
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Vaccination rates are slowly inching up in Cherbourg and the South Burnett.
The latest Local Government Area figures, as at November 21:
- Cherbourg – 57.4 per cent (single dose), 33.3 per cent (fully vaccinated)
- Gympie – 80.1 / 67.1
- North Burnett – 77.9 / 65.6
- Somerset – 83.0 / 69.6
- South Burnett – 84.2 / 67.6
- Toowoomba – 89.0 / 76.3
- Western Downs – 83.0 / 68.0
In comparison, the rates in Brisbane are: 87.2 / 79.4
The Queensland-wide rate is 84.6 / 73.4 (at at November 23).
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Racegoers should take note that once Queensland hits the 80 per cent double dose vaccination rate, they will need to be fully vaccinated to attend the races.
Racing Minister Grace Grace said it was “imperative” that both participants and punters “roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated so they can continue to enjoy these big events”.