Gladys Berejiklian has slammed Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to close the border to all Sydneysiders with a series of barbed remarks.
Ms Palaszczuk announced on Wednesday morning that all people from Greater Sydney will be banned from entering the sunshine state from 1am on Saturday.
But the New South Wales premier fired back, saying the decision will hurt the ‘smaller state’ Queensland ‘much more than it hurts NSW’ during a Wednesday press conference.
She also boasted that NSW was in ‘the strongest position in the nation’ despite the state having 188 active coronavirus – while Queensland has just five.
When asked if she was disappointed in Ms Palaszczuk’s decision, the NSW premier said: ‘It would have been nice if she told me, but that’s fine.’
‘It hurts the smaller states when they don’t interact with NSW, it hurts us less if you talk about economy and that’s a decision for her.’
Ms Berejiklian later clarified who were the ‘smaller states’, saying: ‘It hurts Queensland or South Australia or WA much more than it hurts NSW.
‘We are in the strongest position in the nation which we want to maintain, obviously.
‘We’re very much focused on NSW, it’s obviously up to other jurisdictions on what decisions they take. The only challenge for NSW is limited freedom of movement for out residents.
‘It’s always finding that right balance of making sure that the virus is in check but then also providing sufficient freedoms for our residents.’
The NSW premier also highlighted that Queensland’s new cases were not directly from Sydney.
‘I note that the cases that they’ve had up there announced today are all from Victoria and the case from South Australia is from Victoria,’ she said.
Queensland closed its border with Sydney after two teenagers with coronavirus lied on their border declaration forms and dodged quarantine by flying via Sydney.
The 19-year-old women, who flew back from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21 after travelling together, and were active in the community for eight days without isolating.
Ms Palaszczuk earlier said she was ‘furious’ at the teenagers for lying to authorities.
‘I am absolutely furious that these two people have gone to Victoria, come back and given authorities misleading information’.
‘There will be a thorough police investigation here but now we have to act as a community and any areas the chief health officer says need to be closed, will be closed.’
All Sydney residents will be banned from Saturday and Queensland residents returning will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair ‘reckless’ and said she was ‘very disappointed’.
The teens travelled on flights VA 863 and VA 977. Queensland Health contact tracers are identifying close contacts from those flights.
Health Minister Steven Miles said there was a large amount of contact tracing that needed to be done with the community as well.
Authorities are now conducting a criminal investigation into whether the women lied on their border declaration form about where they had been before entering Queensland.
Queensland shut its borders to all people from Victoria on July 10 after the southern state’s cases escalated.
Returning Queenslanders who have spent any time in Victoria in the 14 days before coming home must quarantine in a hotel at their own expense.