Border battle erupts between Coast MPs

WIDE Bay MP Llew O'Brien has accused state member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders of "sitting quietly by" while businesses suffer because of the border closure.

"Maryborough business owners are notoriously resilient, keeping their stores and cafes open through the aftermath of floods, droughts and the changing business landscape," Mr O'Brien said.

"But this prolonged shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed them closer to the brink than any natural disaster.

"Like Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, I supported the closure of Queensland's borders when medical experts advised it was necessary.

"But while national health authorities are clear that there is no longer any medical basis for the border closures, Premier Palaszczuk is stubbornly insisting on a prolonged shutdown, with no timeline in sight for reopening our state.

"And the Member for Maryborough - who can clearly see the devastating toll this is having on businesses just metres from his own electorate office - is just sitting silently by."

But Mr Saunders refuted those claims yesterday, saying that polls showed that a vast majority of Queenslanders supported the premier's stance on the border closure.

"I support the premier 100 per cent and so do 80 per cent of Queenslanders," Mr Saunders said.

Ms Palaszczuk yesterday announced the border would reopen on July 10.

Mr Saunders challenged Mr O'Brien to fight for an extension to the JobKeeper program or to apologise to people over the Robodebt debacle.

Mr Saunders said the worst thing that could happen to businesses was a second wave of COVID-19 hitting the state.

Mr O'Brien also questioned why the Premier was still enforcing harsh restrictions limiting the number of socially-distanced customers permitted to enter pubs, clubs, hotels when 30,000 non-socially distanced people were allowed to protest in Brisbane.

"In Wide Bay, as a result of the Premier's rulings we've suffered the cancellation of our country shows, Anzac Day couldn't be commemorated, and we still have heart breaking restrictions on funerals, weddings and other gatherings, yet the Premier didn't ban or postpone the protest," Mr O'Brien said.

"And the State Member for Maryborough didn't say a word.

"Well he can't have it both ways.

"If he supports the actions of 30,000 protesters to demonstrate he must also support the immediate opening of Queensland's borders."

But Mr Saunders said the government had not supported the protest, asking what Mr O'Brien would have done to prevent the gathering.

"We weren't in favour, but what do you do - shoot people or bring in tanks?" he said.

"It's 30,000 people, how do you stop it?"

What do you think? Email your thoughts to carlie.walker@frasercoastchronicle.com.au.