Partygoers at Mackay's McGuires Hotel pre-coronavirus.
Partygoers at Mackay's McGuires Hotel pre-coronavirus.

‘Let us reopen’: MP’s plea to PM on pubs, schools

DAWSON MP George Christensen has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging for the lifting of restrictions and a full reopening of the Mackay Whitsundays economy by next Monday.

The letter - also sent to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk - demanded the same for other cities and towns in the Dawson electorate.

This included Townsville and the Burdekin.

Mr Christensen noted all of the cities and towns within his electorate had gone without a new confirmed Covid-19 case for the past three weeks.

"From this it is clear as it can be that our region is free of Covid-19, although I would contest that a few new cases, properly managed, would not be any reason to detract from a lifting of restrictions," he wrote.

The Dawson MP urged for a full reopening of the region's economy by May 11.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Glenn Hunt / The Australian
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Glenn Hunt / The Australian

He said social distancing rules and hygiene measures should still apply, with strict protocols in place for businesses, venues and activities which were deemed "higher risk".

"This will require all schools to be fully operational for all students," Mr Christensen said.

He added that all church and worship services as well as sport should be allowed to restart.

Mr Christensen said outdoor weddings, funerals and events should be given the green light as long as social distancing was followed.

He said travel into the region should remain essential only, with other travel to be accompanied by a 14-day self-isolation period.

Mr Christensen said state or federal funding to ensure temperature testing at Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Proserpine and Hamilton Island airports would provider further protection.

"I don't think that regional areas such as Mackay, Whitsundays, Townsville and Burdekin should be held back because there are management issues in capital cities," he told the Daily Mercury.

"We are ready to go."

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Rainee Shepperson
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Rainee Shepperson

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson echoed this, saying regions should be independently assessed and start easing regulations when suitable.

"This is a powerhouse region for the nation and it needs to be back working," Cr Williamson said.

"We don't need to be lumped into the same statewide blanket now."

Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox said businesses in the region had already done the hard yards to allow a reopening to occur.

"Everyone has done their part and I think now it's time we started trading business as usual," Cr Willcox said.

"Businesses in the Whitsundays are doing it extremely tough."

The lifting of restrictions is expected to be discussed at a meeting of National Cabinet on Friday.


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