Hospital staff demand essential workers checkpoint
FOLLOWING an outcry by whistleblowers on Wednesday, the Health Service Union has joined the fight demanding a dedicated essential workers checkpoint be established.
The Tweed traffic nightmare caused by Queensland's hasty hard border closure earlier this week has caused delays in getting to work for all hospital workers from paramedics, warsdpeople, security officers and allied health professionals.
In particular, Tweed Hospital staff have been contending with hours of setbacks without special checkpoints to fast-track essential workers.
Almost 40 per cent of the Tweed Hospital staff live in Queensland and about 20 per cent of patients also have to cross the border.
NSW-Queensland HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said the Queensland Government had to avoid the mistakes of the last border closure.
"At the moment, our members are waiting hours at border checkpoints just to do their job or get home to their family at night. This is unacceptable and unworkable," said Mr Hayes said.
"Having overlooked the broader hospital workforce previously, we sincerely hope the Queensland Government deems all hospital workers essential this time around."
Mr Hayes said the needs of these medical professionals crucial to running hospitals should be recognised by the sunshine state.
"We are prepared to be reasonable and accept that these are trying and difficult circumstances.
"However we are now five days into the border closure and health workers in border communities want to spend time with their families at Christmas.
"This shouldn't be too hard to get right."
A Queensland Police spokesman said the closure was "reinstated at very short notice" and the earlier system had been "reinstated as an urgent interim measure".
"As more resources arrive to assist, it's anticipated a fourth checkpoint will open on Miles St to assist in relieving congestion in the Tweed," he said.
However a timeline of when this will happen was yet to be established on Thursday.