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Queensland to open border bubble for 12 NSW LGAs

Queensland says a border bubble with 12 NSW local government areas will come into effect on Monday.

Students and essential workers from the LGAs will be able to travel into Queensland from 1am on September 13 after the NSW government said their restrictions would be eased.

“So that’s great news for those communities and will ease some of the pressures along our border,” Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk said on Friday.

The 12 LGAs of concern in NSW are Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith.

The government says it is returning to previous border settings, where people were permitted to travel into Queensland for a wide range of essential reasons.

These include work that cannot be undertaken at home, school, essential shopping, health care, or to care for someone who is vulnerable.

The directions apply to travellers entering each side of the border and includes people who want to travel into Queensland to receive their first dose of vaccine.

“It’s anyone who can’t reasonably work from home, so they need to make that decision with the employer,” Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the date announced is to give authorities enough time to adjust border pass processes to ensure the new arrangements can be implemented safely.

His NSW counterpart, John Barilaro, thanked Queensland for the quick action and the establishment of a bubble for residents who have previously protested against the hard-border.

“This will make a difference for those communities who have done it hard. We know how seamless and invisible that border is, but unfortunately communities do get impacted at times when borders are closed,” the NSW deputy premier said.

The Queensland government is also prioritising more staff to its exemptions unit as the state is inundated with requests.

Ms Palaszczuk said there were thousands of people applying but “these things don’t just happen overnight.”

“I’ve spoken to senior levels of government this morning about that, and I’ve made it very clear that I want more action in this area,” she said.

“If people are having any issues please contact that exemptions unit, and they can follow up your request.”

She says Queensland Health is working with the family of a baby suffering from a rare medical condition who want to return and quarantine in Queensland at their rural property 250 kilometres west of Brisbane.

“We want the best for the family. We want the best for the baby. And I know that the top clinicians are speaking with the family,” the premier said.

Queensland recorded one new locally acquired case of COVID-19 on Friday.