Hunter residents get green light to enter Queensland

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Regional NSW, including Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the entire Hunter Valley, will be allowed to travel to Queensland from 1am on Tuesday 3 November.

Those living in the 32 local government areas (LGAs) of Greater Sydney and Victoria are still not permitted to cross the border.

The announcement came from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning, and is backed by advice from Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

Dr Young said Sydney’s mystery COVID-19 infections played a part in her decision.

“I have reviewed the situation in NSW and, prior to yesterday, they had four LGAs in Sydney that had had cases of community transmission that NSW was unable to link to any known clusters, which means that they have transmission and they don’t know where it is coming from,” she said.

“So, based on that new information yesterday and the information up to that point, I believe it is important that Queensland remains closed to those 32 LGAs in Sydney.”

With Sydney still blacklisted, Newcastle Airport is prepared to take on extra travellers as the largest airport in NSW without COVID-19 restrictions.

Newcastle Airport Chief Executive, Dr Peter Cock, said recent community polling showed that the local area was more eager to fly than the rest of Australia.

“We know they are particularly interested in getting to Queensland and we’re confident there will be plenty of demand in both directions once flights recommence next week,” he said.

“Interstate flights will offer regional people the chance to finally connect with friends and loved ones, or to get away for that long-awaited holiday.

“Working closely with our airline partners, we stand ready to meet the needs of the region. That’s a big responsibility, and one we take seriously.”

Dr Cock says travellers will be treated to the airport’s recent $1.5 million terminal upgrade.

“It uses thoughtful design to offer dedicated spaces for our business, solo, and family travellers,” he said.

“This will make waiting for flight more comfortable and enjoyable.”

Meanwhile, Victorians and Sydneysiders hoping to travel to the ‘Sunshine State’ for the holidays will need to wait until the end of November when Queensland reviews the current allowances.

Both Dr Young and Premier Palaszczuk are remaining cautious, noting that “anything could happen”.