As Queensland prepares to lower its border with Greater Sydney and hopes to confirm a similar relaxation to Victorian visitors, many are left wondering what will happen to the state’s border passes.
For months now, any travellers into Queensland have had to have a border declaration pass. The system has gone through several iterations.
It has particularly impacted people living in border communities, who have been able to move reasonably freely for a while, but are still impacted by traffic delays and the need to have a valid pass at all times.
From December 1, Queensland will allow travellers from greater Sydney and it is expected that Victorian travellers will also have the welcome mat extended later today.
Queensland police will detail the future of border declaration passes after that announcement.
The state remains closed to visitors from Adelaide, as that city remains classified as a coronavirus hotspot.
It’s understood that as long as there are hotspots, there will be some kind of border declaration pass in place.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said a limited border pass may be needed.
“Police will go through that over the next few days, there may be a border pass required for people going into South Australia and for Queenslanders going to South Australia and returning,” she said.
Queensland will review its closure to Adelaide at the end of the month.
Can you fly into Queensland?
Airlines moved quickly to capitalise on travellers hoping to fly to Queensland over the festive season.
Qantas and Jetstar plan to operate more than 1,200 extra return flights from New South Wales and Victoria.
The two airlines will put on more than 250 return flights per week across seven routes from Sydney to Queensland.
There are currently only 36 return flights per week.
If restrictions to Victoria are eased, Qantas and Jetstar will add more than 160 flights per week from Melbourne.
Virgin Australia said it had already recorded a considerable increase in bookings.
It plans to add an extra three flights from Sydney to Brisbane from December 1 and ramp up to seven services per day by Christmas.
It will also increase the frequency of flights from Sydney to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Hamilton Island, and resume routes between Sydney and Cairns, and Sydney and Proserpine on the Whitsunday coast.
Will it get easier living on the border?
Chantelle Ellem lives with her family in Bilambil, near Tweed Heads, seven minutes south of the Queensland border.
Ms Ellem’s husband works in Queensland and her mother and sister both live in Queensland too.
“We only live 15 minutes apart from each other and before this whole border thing, really, that border was invisible to us,” she said.
“My glovebox is filled with all papers of the passes over the last six months of getting back and forth, the passes that we’ve needed to print out every week to get the family across.”
Ms Ellem said she understood why Queensland had kept the border checkpoints in place.
But after months of everyday delays, she also keenly awaits the moment the checkpoints are dismantled.
“I’m so excited for the day, I think I’ll cry when it actually comes down. It’s just going to be such a relief,” she said.