NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was left blindsided by her Queensland counterpart’s surprise border announcement on Thursday, forced to learn the news during a live radio interview.
Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed the border would be open to all of NSW from February 1 in an appearance on the Today Show, after the state slammed its border shut to Greater Sydney residents just days before Christmas.
The announcement came as a shock to the NSW Premier, who confessed Ms Palaszczuk had not given her a heads up before dropping the bombshell.
“Have you got the news yet?” 2GB’s Ben Fordham asked the Premier on breakfast radio.
“I don’t and I am hoping it’s positive. I think we have been very patient, far more patient than we needed to be and I am really hoping it will be positive news today,” Ms Berejiklian replied before Mr Fordham offered to give her the “news right now”.
“What do you know that I don’t?“ Ms Berejiklian asked.
The radio show host then explained the border would open to all of NSW on Monday.
“Thanks for letting me know,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Fantastic, good news. I hope this brings a lot of joy to people. I hope that a lot of families who weren’t able to see each other over Christmas can now reunite.
“The right outcome is achieved. We haven’t had a hot spot for a while and even when we do we have managed it well and I don’t think the whole state needs to suffer … we need to have a reasonable approach with how we approach COVID.”
The border restrictions will be eased for 35 local government areas from Monday, provided there is no major change in the state’s COVID-19 situation.
Speaking on breakfast television, the Queensland Premier said it has been a “really long haul”.
“It has been tough on everybody but I’ve always maintained, I have to keep Queenslanders safe,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It is a great time for families to be reunited.”
When asked why the government is waiting until February 1 to open the border, rather than immediately, she said “agencies” need time to prepare.
“We want to give certainty to people travelling,” she said.
“A lot of people haven’t been able to see their family since the closures around Greater Sydney.”
The announcement comes after NSW recorded 10 consecutive days of no community transmission. Ms Berejiklian also revealed a spate of restrictions would ease at midnight Thursday.