They can’t see and won’t listen

Western Queensland has remained coronavirus-free, but the Palaszczuk Government refuses to even think about reducing the crippling restrictions on business.

Rugby league gets special dispensation. ‘Culturally significant’ funerals get special dispensation. But as far as this government is concerned, business in the regions can wither on the vine because, according to Health Minister Steven Miles, it’s all too difficult “because messaging would be inconsistent.”

What is the difference between State Government borders and Local Government borders? We have all coped with the differences and “inconsistent messaging” between north and south. Are we not bright enough to handle similar differences between east and west?

For some reason Premier Palaszczuk can’tbring herself to even look over the Range to get the real picture.

We heard her recent breathlessannouncement about families being able to have picnics in parks, sunbathe onbeaches, and go for rides on motorbikes and jet skis. That might be fun for thepeople in the south-east corner but in the Central West we want more than a bitof fun.

Our towns are dying and the governmenttalks about having picnics. We want to see businesses start operating again. Wewant to see people working again. We want schools to open again. And we haveevery right to expect a positive response to these requests because we haveremained coronavirus-free.

We agree that social distancing rules haveto stay but commonsense could be applied to opening the doors of cafes, coffeeshops, restaurants, pubs and clubs, and any other business that can operate ina safe and healthy manner.

We acknowledge that rules coveringvisitors and tourists to the west should not be relaxed. That’s what makes the“first steps to a freer Queensland” announcement so farcical.

Queenslanders can shop fornon-essential items, visit National Parks, and go for a drive or ride forpleasure, provided they remain within 50kms of home and limit outings tohousehold members or an individual taking a friend.

Does the Premier, the Health Minister, andthe Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, realise 50kms won’t get peoplefrom one town to the next in many areas out west and will not get some ruralpeople to any town at all? Some won’t even get off their properties.

Do they realise the State boundariesextend further than the south-east corner?

And do they realise Western Queenslandershate being threatened or spoken down to? When the Premier lectured:“Queenslanders will need to be on their best behaviour over the coming month ifpandemic restrictions are to be eased any further,” did she realise how manyregional Queenslanders she offended?

And if Gold Coast beaches overflow in thecoming weeks, will westerners continue to be punished?

The Premier, the Health Minister, and theChief Health Officer need to take an urgent look over the Range and see exactlywhat the situation is like out west. This is not the south-east corner. Thereis no coronavirus here at this stage.

We are mature enough to know we can’t takeunnecessary health risks and smart enough to know now is not the time to flingall the doors open.

Businesses throughout the State, andAustralia, are bleeding, but health risks in some parts of the country shouldnot prevent special consideration being given to areas where the risk ofreturning to some sort of normality is very low. Most of Western Queenslandshould be given special consideration.

Premier Palaszczuk, the Health Minister,and Dr Young must start treating us like responsible adults because we hatebeing preached to in a condescending manner. If they expect us to believe theyare not putting politics before people, they will have to prove it.