Samantha Armytage has again blasted ‘silly’ Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk over tough border closures that have left one desperate bush community with no food.
The Sunrise host said her ‘blood was boiling’ on Thursday as Ms Palaszczuk refuses to budge with the border restrictions that have torn families apart and left small country towns struggling to stay afloat.
Armytage on Friday slammed the Labor premier again, pointing out how struggling Australians weren’t given border exemptions to access food or medical attention – but 400 AFL officials were allowed to enter the state and quarantine in a luxury resort.
‘Annastacia Palaszczuk would say she’s trying to protect her state,’ Armytage said on Friday morning.
‘These sorts of things are silly and unnecessary, particularly when you see pictures of AFL executives laying around the pool in what they call quarantine.’
Mayor Katrina Humphries called on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) to open the border and allow Mungindi residents to cross to buy food
On Friday morning Sunrise host Samantha Armytage (pictured) called on the Queensland premier to lift border restrictions that were leaving one desperate town with no food
The Sunrise host also revealed that after multiple requests to bring the Queensland premier onto the show, she was still refusing to answer questions.
A fire tore through Mungindi, a drought-stricken town on both sides of the Queensland and New South Wales border, wiping out its only supermarket and butcher.
But due to Ms Palaszczuk’s hard border closures, locals have been forced to leave their border bubble to get essentials, or travel 160km to the nearest supermarket within the bubble.
Moree Plains Shire Mayor Katrina Humphries said Mungindi’s 600 locals would be forced to leave their border bubble to travel to Mooree to buy supplies – 120km away.
But this would mean they would be unable to get back into Queensland to access medical appointments and would have to isolate for 14 days.
Ms Humphries said she has been trying to speak to Ms Palaszczuk for three weeks but is yet to heard a word.
‘I checked my phone five minutes ago and not a word, but I don’t really expect to the woman’s got no compassion and she’s not kind. People have forgotten to be kind,’ she said on Sunrise on Friday morning.
‘Do these people just not get it? How thick are they? It’s an hour and 20 minute drive to Moree, not everyone has a vehicle.
‘We’ll look after our own because we know that’s what we have to do but Queensland wake up to yourselves please.’
The Mayor revealed that the community and local councils have taken it upon themselves to create a pop-up grocery store in Mungindi for locals which is expected to be up and running by next week.
Speaking to Ms Humphries on Thursday, Armytage said she was ‘fed up’ with how small towns were being treated in the midst of the COVID-19 border closures.
‘My blood is boiling because a lot of things she has done lately. You guys have now got no supermarket and no water and no food, basically,’ Armytage said.
‘She won’t come on the show. I am happy to have it out with her. I’m fed up with what’s going on in Queensland.’
Moree Plains Shire Mayor Katrina Humphries (pictured) said Mungindi’s 600 locals would be forced to leave their border bubble to travel to Mooree to buy supplies and access doctors
On Sunrise on Thursday morning, Samantha Armytage slammed Ms Palaszczuk, who she claimed refused to appear on the show
Ms Humphries said many elderly residents in Mungindi were too scared to leave the travel bubble.
‘Although we are in the shire we aren’t all in the bubble, only selected postcodes have been included in it,’ she said.
‘It’s completely split our shire. I’ve spoken to elderly people who are so frightened that they can’t get into Moree to go to the shops because then they’ll break the travel bubble.’
Ms Humphries called on the premier to ‘stop being so heartless’ and open the border to allow Mungindi residents to buy food and access medical care.
‘It’s unnecessary. It doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be an easy fix. There are a lot of people and Mungindi that are older and need medical care. It’s a human right. It’s not that hard,’ she said.
Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman tweeted: ‘So if you are AFL royalty you can get into Queensland, with your family, but if you live in northern NSW with your seriously ill child you can’t’
Australian state border restrictions
Victoria: Completely open, but other states are banning residents from going there
NSW: Border with Victoria is closed but others are open without restriction
Queensland: Open to everywhere but Victoria, NSW, and the ACT
Northern Territory: Open to everywhere but Victoria and Sydney, which must do hotel quarantine
South Australia: Closed to Victoria, NSW arrivals must self-isolate, rest are open
Tasmania: Closed to Victoria, everywhere else must do hotel quarantine
Western Australia: Closed to everywhere without an exemption
‘We are so close to being a part of Queensland and we never imagined in a million years that through some cruel twist of fate inflamed by some airy cruel-thinking people that we would be denied access to Queensland.
Ms Humphries made an impassioned plea for the premier to ‘stop being so cruel’ and said she needs new policy advisers.
‘You’re punishing people that do not need to be punished. It is un-Australian is what it is. Please move off your pedestal, open the borders and let business go back to business and let people live their lives.’
The Queensland Government will provide $100,000 in emergency funding for temporary store to supply locals with basic essentials, but it won’t be up and running for weeks.
It comes after 400 AFL officials were allowed to enter into Queensland in preparation for the Grand Final at Brisbane’s Gabba on October 24.
Footage has since surfaced of WAGs and officials drinking cocktails while soaking up the sun at a resort pool while supposedly meant to be isolating in hotel quarantine.
‘We are doing this quarantine the same as everyone else,’ AFL boss Gill McLachlan said this week.
But images and video that emerged on Thursday tell a different story – with the officials and families hanging out at the four-and-half star Mercure Gold Coast resort.
Aerial footage – published by Nine News on Thursday – showed WAGs relaxing by the swimming pool at the quarantine resort as children splashed in the water.
Birds eye video footage of the quarantine hotel showed AFL officials and WAGs make the most of the luxury Mercure resort
AFL WAGs and officials lounge by the Mercure’s pool during their hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast
The vision is a world away from the experience of other travellers who have desperately fought to enter Queensland.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg accused the Queensland government of double standards.
‘It’s just not on that a young woman can lose an unborn child because of confusion at the borders,’ he told the Nine Network on Thursday.
‘At the same time, footy officials can go down to their hotel bar as they so-called quarantine in Queensland.
‘It seems double standards on our borders.’
Other Australians that go into hotel quarantine are confined solely to their rooms and are unable to use any of the facility’s amenities.
A heavily pregnant mother was forced to wait 16 hours for emergency surgery in Sydney after being turned away at the Queensland border, before losing one of her unborn twin babies
Ms Palaszczuk was also widely criticised last week for saying Queensland’s hospitals were ‘for our people only’.
A heavily pregnant mother was forced to wait 16 hours for emergency surgery in Sydney after being turned away at the Queensland border, before losing one of her unborn twin babies.
Ms Palaszczuk initially did not grant the seriously ill mum-to-be’s exemption despite her needing emergency surgery for the unborn twins.
The mother, from Ballina in New South Wales which is 88km from the Queensland border, had twins who were just 24 weeks along and needed urgent care.
She wasn’t initially granted an exemption to cross the border for surgery at the Gold Coast University Hospital 125km away and instead had to wait for 16 hours in Lismore for a flight to Sydney.