Mayor worried second wave could cause ‘terrible tragedy’

 

UNDER-FIRE Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has further explained his "safety first" backing of Queensland's border block as irate operators plan statewide protests.

Cr Tate's backing of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's controversial border closure prompted operators to accuse him of leaving them "high and dry" in yesterday's Bulletin.

MAYOR COPS BACKLASH OVER BORDER VIEWS

Small business operators on the brink of collapse and fearing a border closure until September - which the state chief health officer has called "realistic" - plan a protest parade next week simultaneously with Cairns and Sunshine Coast peers.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. Picture: Glenn Hampson

The Bulletin yesterday asked Cr Tate if major health scares in recent years for him and wife Ruth - whose life he saved with CPR in 2017 when she went into cardiac arrest overseas - were having an impact on his border stance aimed at halting coronavirus.

PALMER TAKES BORDER CLOSURE TO THE HIGH COURT

Cr Tate: "My position on this is for all Gold Coasters. If I made the decision to not back the Premier and the borders were opened and a second wave came and it caused one death; it is not more tragic or less tragic if it was my wife. It would be a terrible tragedy no matter who it was.

"It would not surprise me if those advocating for the borders to reopen would run and hide if this was to happen.

"There is still a lot we don't know about COVID-19. It has just taken the life of a 30-year-old who, by all reports, was social distancing and doing the right thing," Cr Tate said. "How could I possibly back any other decision than safety first?"

A Queensland Police officer stops a motorist at a checkpoint at Coolangatta on the Queensland-New South Wales border last Friday. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
A Queensland Police officer stops a motorist at a checkpoint at Coolangatta on the Queensland-New South Wales border last Friday. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Gold Coast operators will join the statewide show of force next Tuesday to protest the border closure. It is hoped the "peaceful" protest will emphasise to Ms Palaszczuk how vital it is for borders to be reopen with other states.

MAYOR PROTEST PLANNED AGAINST BORDER CLOSURE

Gold Coast operators include Jetboat Extreme, Whales in Paradise and Aquaduck who fear missing winter and school holiday trade.

Jetboat Extreme owner Michael Gilmore said he was forced to close at the end of March and won't be able to trade until borders reopen: "I lost 100 per cent of business."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk watches on as Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young speaks during a press conference at Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane on Wednesday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk watches on as Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young speaks during a press conference at Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane on Wednesday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Mr Gilmore, who has run the attraction for 17 years, said: "If borders aren't open, we're all in trouble."

Whales in Paradise owner Anthony Ardern let go of 85 staff with 35 on JobKeeper.

"More than 50 per cent of our business relied on interstate travel. The ultimate outcome would be to open the borders, open for trade. The frustrating thing is the Federal Government is saying there is no medical reason why the borders should be closed."

The Gold Coast has one remaining active virus case.

Originally published as Mayor worried second wave could cause 'terrible tragedy'



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