Berejiklian slams premiers over notice without consultation on border closures

By Matthew Elmas

Monday January 11, 2021

Gladys Berejiklian (Damian Shaw/AAP)

The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has lashed interstate colleagues over COVID-19 border closures, complaining about a lack of consultation between political leaders before major decisions are made.

Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia have reintroduced hard border restrictions with NSW in recent weeks amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the state over the holiday period, reigniting a series of political spats between premiers.

Berejiklian believes interstate leaders have failed to consult NSW adequately on the recent border restrictions, which have stranded thousands of Australians traveling over the holiday period.

Yesterday Berejiklian claimed NSW was not notified about Victoria’s border closure at all, prompting a rebuke from the Victorian health minister Martin Foley, who said the governments were in regular contact, and the re-imposition of a hard border should not have come as a shock.

Sometimes they’ll let me know, sometimes they don’t. When they do let me know, the decision has already been made,” Berejiklian told reporters on Monday.

… We should allow each other to have input in those processes rather than being told of the decision.”

Berejiklian said NSW may have advised interstate colleagues to limit their restrictions to the northern beaches or give them more time to develop a management plan, had she been asked.

“All I’m suggesting is as leaders, and again I include myself in this, all of us can and should do better when it comes to borders because it affects thousands of people, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people when multiple border changes are happening around the nation,” Berejiklian said.

Thousands of Australians have been stranded in various parts of the country in recent weeks as a new spate of coronavirus infections prompted a tough public health response from states looking to insulate themselves from the virus.

The timing of border closures with Victoria and Queensland were particularly difficult, as they occurred over the holiday period when many were encouraged to travel to prop up the beleaguered tourism and hospitality industries.

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