Major changes could solve medical border bubble troubles
SPECIAL exemptions for medical staff and select patients have been foreshadowed in major changes expected to be announced soon.
One of the major issues has been medical staff stranded outside the so-called "border bubble" since Queensland imposed its hard border lockdown on Saturday.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest explained hospitals and health services were advocating on behalf of their staff to apply for exemption passes. This could be announced as early as this afternoon.
Discussions were also taking place about exemptions for patients who need urgent medical treatment outside the border bubble.
Mr Provest hopes the pass would let people attend medical appointments for reasons such as chemotherapy and cancer treatment in Queensland without having to quarantine for 14 days in government accommodation at their own expense.
He foreshadowed the medical treatment pass could extend to areas including Grafton.
"I think we are taking a significant step forward with the passes for medical professionals," Mr Provest said.
"Like with anything, the devil is in the details.
"Just yesterday my office was contacted by a young man who recently had a lung transplant who needs to travel to Brisbane for his lifesaving anti-rejection drug."
Another problem is that cops living in the border bubble can't travel outside of the Tweed Shire despite the police district extending to Byron Bay.
It is understood the Queensland Premier has not extended the Tweed-Byron Police District force's special exemption which expires on Saturday.
Mr Provest said discussions were in place to bring in police from other areas of NSW to make up the difference of those who were not permitted to travel outside of the border bubble to cover that area.
It's similar situation with ambulance staff, however, Mr Provest said he has been assured by the assistant commissioner of NSW Ambulance that rostering would be adjusted so they were confident of maintaining service both inside and outside of the border bubble.
Mr Provest said he was opposed to the suggestion of moving the border checkpoint south of the Tweed, as suggested by Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot.
"Wherever you move it, it's going to create problems for other people," he said.
"It is a Queensland health order, not a NSW one. Who is going to be paying to man it? I just don't think it would work."