Bundaberg Region community leaders have welcomed the lifting of Queensland border restrictions and encourage local residents to welcome interstate visitors.
Mayor Jack Dempsey and Bundaberg Tourism chief executive Katherine Reid said increased tourism will create jobs and boost the economy.
And Childers police sergeant Geoff Fay said most Victorians in Queensland are here legally.
The border is now closed to Victoria but opened today to New South Wales, South Australia and other states and territories.
“Bundaberg Tourism is calling on all locals to rally together, to remain positive and to continue to offer our visitors the respect and hospitality we have always offered,” Ms Reid said.
“We have no active COVID-19 cases in the region, and many of our interstate guests within our region have been with us and supported our businesses throughout the past months.
“All levels of government are working closely with health officials and industry to protect Queensland.”
Ms Reid said people should continue to practise social distancing and “be kind to each other”.
“Our regional economy needs the visitor dollar to propel us into recovery,” she said.
Mayor Dempsey said it’s been a difficult few months for many families and businesses who have been separated from loved ones and associates.
“Tourism is a vital industry for the Bundaberg Region and we now have a small window of opportunity to catch up after the last few months of closure,” he said.
“Hundreds of people will gain work and there are flow-on benefits to the rest of the local economy.
“Please also welcome our Victorian visitors who arrived here before Melbourne was locked down.”
Victorians are here lawfully
Mayor Dempsey said most of country Victoria was no worse affected than Queensland and there’s no reason to treat Victorians differently.
“A lot of hire cars have Victorian number plates, so don’t assume the drivers are illegal arrivals,” he said.
“Always follow public health advice. If you’re feeling unwell, isolate and get tested.”
Childers police sergeant Geoff Fay told ABC there was “unnecessary hysteria” about people seeing cars with Victorian number plates.
“We conducted patrols of the Woodgate Caravan Park. We spoke to the management, and we were able to verify that all of the vehicles in that park with Victorian plates were lawfully in Queensland,” he said.
“Some were hire vehicles which had been hired out of Brisbane by Queensland residents … other people had been in Queensland for two and three months before COVID-19 had started.
“There was one resident from Victoria who had crossed the border and had obtained the necessary permits to enter Queensland.”
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