An 11-year-old boy from rural NSW could be forced to stay in his boarding school in Queensland until Christmas due to draconian border control measures.
Justine McNally has begged Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for a border exemption so her son Henry can return home to Moree in the school holidays.
Strict Queensland border controls mean Henry would be forced to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel at the family’s expense before going back to class.
Ms McNally said regional families are being marginalised by the border control measures, leaving students forced to miss out on spending time with their families.
‘It’s a big issue for NSW families,’ Ms McNally told Daily Mail Australia.
Justine McNally has begged Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) for a border exemption to be able to see her son Henry in the school holidays
Police motion to drivers at the NSW-Queensland border on August 7 amid strict border crossing policies due to the coronavirus pandemic
‘We can get them in, but we can’t get them back to Queensland without them quarantining on return if they’re not in the border bubble area.
‘I think there is a lack of understanding around the sacrifices country people make to give their children opportunities.’
Ms McNally has not seen her son since early August and said Henry was upset he was unable to come home for the holidays.
‘We were anxious to see him cause we didn’t know when we would be able to see him again,’ she said.
‘There’s been no timeline given on the border closure policy and it has really increased stress for parents.
‘All Henry wants to do is come home and have a couple of weeks on the farm.’
She said political leaders could put themselves in her shoes and allow for travel exemptions for boarding students.
‘We don’t expect an open border with no paper work,’ Ms McNally said. ‘We think there has to be a more workable system.’
ICPA QLD President Tammi Irons (pictured) said boarders and their parents alike are struggling with not being able to see each other in the upcoming holiday period
Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Queensland president Tammie Irons said parents and their children’s mental health were suffering from the border measures.
‘It’s already been ten weeks, the potential is they might not see their parents until Christmas,’ she told news.com.au. ‘It’s pretty tough.’
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young met with ICPA officials last week, who could not make an agreement for border exemptions for rural boarders.
Premier Palaszczuk last week revealed her state’s border wouldn’t open until at least October.
‘We said we would review at the end of the each month and there has been no advice from the chief health officer to change what we are doing,’ she said.
‘Queensland will continue to have our borders closed to keep Queenslanders safe, I’m not going to be moved on this.
‘Fundamentally the health of Queenslanders is my number one concern.
‘We know that people wanted to open our borders earlier. We would have seen a situation that’s happening in Victoria happening in Queensland.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been outspoken in his criticism of border closures and asked state premiers to commit to having their borders open by Christmas.
All states and territories except for Western Australia on Friday supported Mr Morrison’s plan to create a road map out of border restrictions.
Understanding the border closures: Where can I travel?
Victoria is under strict Stage Four and Stage Three lockdown, meaning residents cannot partake in non-essential travel.
In addition to Victoria’s own restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19, every other state and territory in Australia has implemented border closures to keep Victorians – and the virus – out.
New South Wales:
New South Wales currently only has incoming restrictions in place for Victorians, meaning residents from every other state and territory are welcome to travel there.
But any person who has been in New South Wales is restricted from travelling to Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, and may be subject to quarantine if they enter South Australia, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.
Queensland’s border is closed to any residents from New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory.
Residents from anywhere else in Australia are welcomed to travel to the Sunshine State without restrictions.
Queenslanders are permitted to travel to every state except Western Australia, where a hard border closure remains in place.
When visiting Tasmania, they may be required to quarantine.
Tasmanians are free to travel to any state, but may be subject to hotel quarantine when returning home.
Visitors from high risk areas are banned from entering the state, while people from anywhere else are potentially subject to hotel quarantine.
Western Australia has a hard border closure in place.
Nobody can enter the state without an exemption.
The border with Victoria is closed, but people from Queensland, Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia are welcome to visit.
Travellers from New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory can enter only after testing and quarantining.
The Northern Territory border remains open but anybody who has been in a hot spot like Victoria or parts of New South Wales must undertake 14 days hotel quarantine at a cost of $2,500.
Australian Capital Territory:
Anybody who has travelled to Victoria is barred from entering the region, unless they are an ACT resident.
Travellers from hot spots may be subject to quarantine, but travellers from any other states and territories can travel without restrictions.