Queensland's border zone rules for Northern New South Wales

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14 August 2021

Following the announcement of a state-wide lockdown in New South Wales, Queensland is requiring any New South Wales resident who lives anywhere in the border zone to only enter Queensland for essential reasons.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said from 8pm today (14 August), NSW border zone residents can enter Queensland for obtaining essential goods and services that can’t reasonably be obtained in NSW.

“The situation in New South Wales continues to be very concerning,” Dr Young said.

“Given the escalation of local restrictions, we have no choice but to put in place a tighter border situation to protect Queenslanders.

“This means anyone who has been to any of the northern NSW local government areas in our established border zone can only come into Queensland for really essential reasons.

“This is the same restriction we have in place for the seven LGAs of Ballina, Brewarrina, Bourke, Byron, Walgett, Lismore and Richmond Valley.

“The reasons to cross the border into Queensland for work will be restricted to essential work. If it’s not absolutely essential, do not cross the border.

“I know this is tough – those living in northern NSW are our close neighbours and they access Queensland for a range of reasons, but right now, that can’t continue until their outbreak gets under control.

“This will be in place for at least seven days, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation.

“I urge Queenslanders to reconsider their need to go to New South Wales at all.

“Importantly, and as we ask all Queenslanders, anyone who has been in northern NSW recently should get tested immediately if they have any symptoms at all, even really mild symptoms.”

Specific details for the border zone:

From 8pm tonight, if you are a New South Wales border zone resident, you can only enter Queensland for a permitted essential purpose:

  • attend permitted work or emergency volunteering
  • attend school or childcare – only for children of essential workers. Essential workers can transport their children to attend face to face schooling or to attend a childcare facility
  • provide assistance, care or support to a vulnerable person or family member or visit a terminally ill relative
    • fulfil an obligation relating to shared parenting, child contact or contact between siblings
    • get a COVID-19 test or vaccination
    • in an emergency situation
    • for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm, including domestic violence)
    • as directed by an emergency officer
    • to follow an exemption you have been granted by the Chief Health Officer

You cannot enter Queensland:

  • to attend a wedding or funeral
  • to exercise
  • for recreational purposes, including:
    • holidays
    • spectating at professional sporting events
    • attending cinemas, theme parks or other tourist experiences.

If you go outside of the New South Wales border zone in New South Wales (or any other COVID-19 hotspot), you will not be able to re-enter Queensland via road and will have to quarantine for 14 days in government arranged accommodation at your own expense when you come home by air.

Essential work includes work that is urgently required for:

  • for safety reasons
  • for emergency repairs
  • that is necessary to maintain essential services and supplies to the community, or part of the community.

It includes work performed by:

  • a medical practitioner or other prescribed health practitioner (including at residential aged care facilities, disability accommodation services and aged care or NDIS supports provided to a person’s home)
  • an emergency health services or emergency services worker
  • national defence, state security or police worker
  • a freight or logistics operator
  • an emergency infrastructure worker
  • air crew or maritime crew
  • an emergency volunteer
  • a disaster management worker
  • a critical infrastructure worker
  • a tradesperson or construction worker for essential or emergency construction or repairs only
  • an emergency volunteer, volunteering for any community or government welfare, social, safety, emergency or disaster service.

Essential workers do not include:

  • teachers
  • anyone who can perform their work remotely, at home
  • childcare workers
  • hospitality workers
  • sales representatives
  • commercial construction workers on non-critical projects.

If you are entering Queensland for essential work, or returning from permitted work in a lockdown zone, you may be asked for evidence that you are performing essential work. This evidence could include, a letter on your employer's letterhead, your roster or a booked appointment that shows you need to be physically present to perform essential work.

For more information on the border zone restrictions, please visit the Queensland Health website.