A CONTINGENCY plan to protect North Queensland from future outbreaks of COVID-19 in the state's south-east must be developed urgently, according to Katter's Australian Party MPs.
KAP leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said while the Premier's decision to close Queensland's borders to New South Wales and the ACT this weekend was welcome, more needed to be done to limit any potential spread of the virus throughout the state.
Mr Katter said regional quarantine zones to protect the North and regions from the populous south-east corner had to be predefined and necessary arrangements made to enforce these internal borders well ahead of time.
"We are all navigating through some very uncertain times right now and we understand it's going to be tough across the board," Mr Katter said.
"We cannot stress enough how important it is that protections be put in place across the state, and particularly in the North, should the worst occur in the south-east corner.
"Queensland is too diverse and broad for one set of rules- if Brisbane suffers an outbreak, we will expect swift action from the Premier to protect our communities up here and enable them to continue to function normally unless local outbreaks also occur."
Mr Katter said regional quarantine would mean travel between different zones would be banned unless for limited, exempt purposes.
He said it was vital the North's economy, largely underpinned by the mining and agricultural sectors, be safeguarded so it could support the rest of the state and nation.
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said it was imperative the state government had a contingency plan for a North Queensland border, and a trigger point to implement it.
"We cannot have a situation like last time where the entire state was shut down primarily because of the large number of COVID-19 cases in the south-east," Mr Dametto said.
"The North has done exceptionally well to remain coronavirus-free for some time now and a regional bubble would allow us to operate with business as usual, should it need to be implemented."
Mr Dametto said local businesses would not survive another shutdown.
"Businesses across the North that have survived the first lockdown cannot possibly go through another round of heavy COVID-19 restrictions," he said.
"The Premier is doing the right thing to protect the health of Queenslanders but there needs to be a plan to protect our economy."