The Queensland Government has yet to announce if any additional burdens would be imposed on legal practitioners or their clients after today’s announcement that the state’s borders would be closed to New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory residents.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the border with NSW would be closed from 1am on Saturday – with all visitors from NSW and the ACT to be denied entry except for rare exemptions and that returning Queenslanders would have to pay for 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine.
It follows a declaration by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, that all of NSW and the ACT had been identified as COVID-19 hotspots, joining Victoria as the list of destinations closed to non-Queensland residents.
Ms Palaszczuk said the “hard border closure’’ put Queenslanders first.
“I said that when the moment came, I would not hesitate. That moment has arrived,’’ she said.
“Victoria hasn’t improved as we hoped and I won’t wait for New South Wales to get any worse.
“I will not risk our state’s economic recovery by allowing COVID to spread. I will do everything I can to protect Queenslanders and the economy.”
It remains unclear whether the proposed closure will impact on the legal profession, with a Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesman telling Proctor there had yet to be any changes made to the most recent advisory – “Border Restrictions Direction (No 10)’’
The direction, last updated by Queensland Health on 31 July, requires people entering Queensland to hold a valid Queensland Border Declaration Pass and give an undertaking that they will present for a COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms consistent with the virus within 14 days of entering Queensland
“Generally people who have been in declared COVID-19 hotspots cannot enter Queensland, but there are certain exemptions relevant to the legal profession and their clients,’’ the Direction says.
Those exemptions include:
- If the person’s usual residence is in Queensland or the person is moving to Queensland as a new resident
- To comply with an order to attend a Court or Tribunal or to give effect to orders of a Court or Tribunal
- To fulfil a legal obligation relating to shared parenting or child access
- To assist with or participate in a State or Commonwealth law enforcement investigation or other action at the request or direction of a State or Commonwealth department or law enforcement agency
- If the person is avoiding serious injury or escaping an immediate risk of serious harm (eg: escaping a risk of harm related to sexual or domestic and family violence.
The current Direction does not presently deal with residents in border communities travelling for work across the border, but the previous versions of the Border Restrictions Directions did and QLS expects these arrangements to be reinstated for the Saturday closure.
It is expected any subsequent changes to the current Direction would be communicated widely once decided upon by Queensland Health.