Qld hints at border opening before X-mas

Annastacia Palaszczuk has hinted Queensland borders could reopen to COVID hotspots before Christmas.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has hinted Queensland borders could reopen to COVID hotspots before Christmas.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has again hinted that the state borders could reopen to COVID-19 hotspots before Christmas, saying the next six weeks of the vaccine rollout are critical.

The state recorded no new virus cases on Thursday morning after more than 10,000 tests in the previous 24 hours.

Ms Palaszczuk is yet to set any date or vaccination threshold for the state borders to reopen to virus hotspots in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, but she's been dropping hints this week.

Almost 71 per cent of eligible Queenslanders had received one dose of a vaccine and 54.1 per cent were fully vaccinated by Tuesday, but the premier is concerned about coverage outside the southeast.

She again urged unvaccinated Queenslanders to get a first dose by mid-November with those who do get the jab by then due for a second dose in early December.

"We are seeing our vaccination rates increase in Queensland, but there are parts of Queensland in regional communities in central Queensland, out at northwest, up in the northern parts of our state, indigenous communities, that we need to make sure are protected," Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Thursday.

"So now we need a huge drive, I've said the next six weeks are critical, for Queenslanders to get that first dose."

The premier's warning comes after she hinted on Wednesday night that November 17 was seen as a cut-off date for people to get their first jab.

"We've done all we can to keep you safe - but this next step is up to you," Ms Palaszczuk wrote on Twitter.

"We cannot protect you if you won't protect yourself.

"I need you to get vaccinated and I need you to get it now.

"It takes five weeks from the first dose to be completely vaccinated.

"Five weeks from today in the 17th of November - that's getting very close to Christmas."

Federal Employment Minister and Gold Coast MP Stuart Robert called on the Queensland government to announce a clear border reopening plan to give people and businesses certainty, like NSW and Victoria have done.

"Right now in Queensland where we're standing, we are surviving press conference by press conference," he told reporters.

"I've got no idea what's going to happen, I've got no idea where the citizens of NSW can pop in, I've got no idea whether we can plan for Christmas, whether we can see relatives, no idea at all.

"There is absolutely no certainty."

Meanwhile, state government MPs again called for Liberal National Party leader David Crisafulli to dump health spokeswoman Ros Bates from the shadow cabinet over her links to an anti-vaccination group.

Ms Bates, who is fully vaccinated and supports vaccination, is a member of the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, which is associated with the Red Union Support Hub which espouses anti-vaccination views.

LNP MP Jarrod Bleijie previously said the real reason Labor was attacking the NPAQ was that Labor-affliated unions were leaking members to the new group.

"Nurses in the nurses union and teachers in the teachers union are leaving in droves, because they want to see the competition and because they want competition," he told parliament on Wednesday.

Australian Associated Press