Maranoa MP David Littleproud visited Southern Downs mayor Vic Pennisi at the beginning of coronavirus and is now leading the charge for compensation.
Maranoa MP David Littleproud visited Southern Downs mayor Vic Pennisi at the beginning of coronavirus and is now leading the charge for compensation.

Push for state to reimburse region over border closures

BORDER closures have once again reignited tensions between all levels of government in Warwick, after a controversial call for the Queensland Government to pay up.

Member for Maranoa David Littleproud yesterday said the Palaszczuk government should be compensating councils along the NSW border for infrastructure needed during closures.

“This is just another blow to rural communities that have already suffered under Queensland’s hard border closures, which disrupted business, shut the door to agricultural movement and restricted access to essential services for residents,” he said.

“Out of sheer desperation, local councils came to the rescue by providing infrastructure to

make border crossings as smooth as possible for their residents, and now they’re paying the

price for the closure.”

It was something Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said he agreed with, to a degree.

During the height of closures, electronic border gates were installed across our region, at a cost of approximately $500 per gate.

“We could have elected hard closures, but within guidelines, we continued to have residents go in and out,” he said.

“It’s not just the Southern Downs, but right along the border and we all did incur some costs. “It would be nice to see the State Government help in that area.

“It was tough for us, it was tough for them and we could be looking down the barrel of a potential deficit budget if we aren’t careful.”

The Mayor added it was hard to know if the border infrastructure would be necessary again, should closures be reinforced.

“It would be nice for the government to reimburse some of those costs, no doubt, but the state government has helped us a lot in the drought,” he said.

“They fund the water carting every month, so I don’t think the State Government will overlook this, it’s a matter of timing.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shut down the call by Mr Littleproud, but not before issuing some harsh criticism of the Maranoa MP.

“The Minister has never supported the border policies that have kept Queensland safe, putting him out of step with most Queenslanders,” a spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk told the Warwick Daily News.

“This is just more politics.”