Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner says Queensland will push back against any Federal Government attempt to “blow holes in the border restrictions that have been protecting Queenslanders from widespread COVID-19 transmission”.
The Minister said a draft Federal Agriculture Code which was rejected by a meeting of the nation’s Chief Medical Officers on Tuesday may still be on the agenda for National Cabinet on Friday.
“Late Tuesday afternoon the Commonwealth called a meeting for Wednesday morning to approve a re-worked Code,” Mr Furner said.
“This code has not been assessed by our health experts and the Commonwealth has given Agriculture Ministers around the country little time to review it.
“Federal Minister David Littleproud cannot expect to submit his homework late in the hope states will sign off without time to read it.”
Mr Furner said states couldn’t be expected to back a plan that had already been rejected by medical experts.
“The Federal Government is treating the states with contempt at a time when all governments need to continue working together to keep Australians safe,” he said.
“Has David Littleproud forgotten that Queenslanders are Australians too?”
Mr Furner said Queensland already had a framework in place to facilitate the entry of agricultural, fisheries, and forestry workers and equipment while still meeting health requirements
“Queensland has been firm in saying that the agricultural industry is essential, and we stand by that, but we are also 100% behind the advice of Queensland’s Chief Health Officer,” he said.
“We won’t just open our borders and put Queenslanders at risk – we need a proper framework in place and this late night, last minute draft, is not an answer.”