Annastacia Palaszczuk has fired a warning shot to Gladys Berejiklian, telling Australia’s leaders if you criticise Queensland, don’t come to the state.
The rivalry between the premiers heated up again on Friday ahead of a national cabinet meeting about vaccines and the quarantine system.
Speaking on Today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was asked when she would visit the Sunshine State.
But Ms Berejiklian said she hoped all premiers would come to NSW because it was the “only state where everybody is welcome, all of the time”.
“You don’t have to worry about being locked in or locked out, come to NSW,” she said in a gibe.
But the Queensland Premier wasn’t having a bar of it when asked about the remarks later in the program.
“Everyone from NSW is welcome to come here, Gladys used to go to Palm Cove,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“But maybe if she will criticise Queensland, don’t come to Queensland.”
A showdown is also brewing between the pair over Australia’s vaccine rollout, scheduled to begin later this month.
Scott Morrison on Thursday revealed Australia had secured another 10 million Pfizer doses, doubling Australia’s order for a jab considered the world’s most effective protection from COVID-19.
Ms Berejiklian said she was keen to ensure quarantine workers across the nation were at the front of the queue for the vaccine.
“NSW has more of those workers as we are carrying the larger burden,” she said. “I hope that’s made available as soon as possible.
“Returned travellers are bringing it with them, so if we can make sure everybody in and around that system is vaccinated, that reduces the risk to the whole community.”
But Ms Palaszczuk said Australia’s most vulnerable needed to get the vaccine first.
“I think everyone needs to get their share, it’s not just for NSW people,” she said.
Elderly Australians, hotel quarantine and healthcare workers are in the government’s first priority group for the vaccine.
Ms Berejiklian denied the national cabinet meeting on Friday would be fiery, instead saying it would be “constructive”.
Australia’s international arrival cap will also be discussed after hotel quarantine capacity was halved last month in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia in response to the highly infectious UK strain.
There is also expected to be a war of words over Australia’s quarantine system, with Victoria and Perth both recording a case among hotel quarantine workers this week.
Ms Palaszczuk said more needed to be done to control the spread of coronavirus in hotels, which were not built for the UK variant.
“This virus is actually circulating in the corridors,” she said.
“We have got to do more – our quarantine is our last line of defence when it comes to protecting Australians.”
A report into Brisbane’s hotel quarantine infection in January will be handed down on Friday, prompting Ms Palaszczuk to ramp up calls for quarantine to be moved out of the cities to regional worker camps.
“You can only put options on the table,” she said. “It is up to the PM to come to the party and help.”
Ms Berejiklian has publicly opposed the move to establish regional quarantine facilities and raised concerns about the potential spread of the virus during the long travel from the airport to quarantine.
“We should really look at making sure the systems we have are foolproof as much as possible,” she said.
But the sentiment was rejected by Ms Palaszczuk who said: “If Gladys had an outbreak like we have had in other states, she might change her mind.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the advice to the government was that hotel quarantine remained the most effective way forward.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said: “If you have to quarantine people, it’s better to quarantine people away from large populations”.