Jun 29, 2021


Jun 29, 2021

KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter – speaking after today’s snap decision to plunge all of Brisbane, Townsville, Magnetic Island and Palm Island into a three-day lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – said the KAP agreed the lockdowns were necessary, but that they wouldn’t come without cost.

“Since last year we have been pushing for lockdowns only where regionally appropriate,” he said.

“The Government has already demonstrated to us their lack of understanding around how unique parts of regional Queensland are, and we saw a clear demonstration of this when they allowed FIFO to go ahead during the first COVID-19 lockdown without any industry-level protocols in place.

“This exposed vulnerable communities like Mount Isa and the Gulf to imported cases of the virus, and a repeat of this must be avoided now and into the future.”

Mr Katter said consultation with local representatives would be vital in making Queensland’s ongoing COVID-19 response sustainable into the future.

He urged all North Queenslanders to follow the lockdown restrictions in place, but said people were desperate for some long-term certainty. 

“While the threat of the virus is real, and there are significant health risks, the decisions governments are making around this saga also have economic, social and personal costs that are almost impossible to measure,” Mr Katter said.

“We know today the Government is scrambling to get on top of the threat and it is disappointing that, even when decisions are made that affect the regions, the people in those communities are not consulted until after the event.

“My view is that regional MPs, as well as councils and health leaders, should be made aware of and consulted on decisions associated with their communities ahead of time.

“There is a much better chance of striking a fair balance when decisions that directly affect the lives of rural and regional Queenslanders are being made from the bottom-up as opposed to the top-down.”

KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said Townsville was scrambling following today’s shock announcement.

He said the lockdown would impact day-to-day activities, sporting tournaments, funerals, weddings, family celebrations, non-essential appointments and pre-planned travel between Townsville and regional centres, but that it was important to heed the health advice.

“Don’t do anything silly or think you’re exempt from the rules – we all want to come out of this lock down on Friday evening unscathed,” he said.

Mr Dametto said in the long-term Queenslanders – including mums-and-dads, business owners, tourists or retirees – were just looking for certainty.

“This virus is here to stay and this frantic approach our states and territories are taking to handling it at the moment is not sustainable,” he said.

“We would urge our governments to develop a centralised approach, based on regional consultation, that all Australians can grow to trust.”