How much did ‘border bubble’ impact Northern Rivers?
NORTHERN Rivers councils impacted by the Queensland border closures have come up with a plan to advocate for fairer border control measures.
The Northern Rivers Joint Organisation has finalised its Position Paper on the impacts of the Queensland border restrictions.
The paper addresses the issues caused by the "border bubble", which had excluded councils other than the Tweed Shire from entering Queensland during the height of the lockdown.
Some of the issues highlighted include:
•Delays with infrastructure and commercial contracts - NRJO councils reported up to 50 affected contracts
• Up to 200 council employees in critical and essential roles suffering travel restrictions, or being unable to attend their workplace
• Problems with workers in the wider community getting to and from work across the border. There are an estimated 15,734 people in the NRJO area who cross the Queensland/NSW border each day for work
Richmond Valley Council's general manager Vaughn Macdonald presented the paper to the council on Tuesday to show what went on "behind the scenes" during the NRJO's advocacy efforts to reopen the border.
Mr Macdonald said the biggest impact for Richmond Valley Council was 10 projects being delayed because certain contractors relied on a cross-border workforce.
"Once the border bubble came into effect that certainly made a big difference," he said.
"It did have some impacts but we're able to now move forward and catch up is certainly our aim."
Councillor Daniel Simpson said he hoped the position paper would provide a learning platform for future impacts of COVID-19.
"There were significant impacts to our area," Cr Simpson said.
"It's not just businesses but we're talking about service personnel (trying) to get to work (having to) be able to cross borders … it really has a significant impact.
"We need to be able to manage that moving forward in a better way if something like this was to happen again."