TOURISM bosses and medical leaders say the State Government is playing Russian roulette with Gold Coasters’ lives and risking the city’s reputation by ignoring its own advice to hold the council elections this weekend.
COUNCIL OFFERS FEE RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES
A defiant Annastacia Palaszczuk said the decision to proceed with Saturday’s poll was based on “very clear” advice of Chief Medical Officer Jeanette Young, despite increased restrictions introduced by the National Cabinet and closure of the state’s borders.
“The health advice is very clear. As long as you practice social distancing there is a very low risk.
“The majority have already voted.”
Voters were this week warned they faced a $133 fine if they don’t vote.
“I strongly advise all electors to stay away from polling booths.
COUNCIL ANNOUNCES NEXT ROUND OF CLOSURES
“We are a hot spot. There is community transmission here, therefore schools should be closed and nobody should attend a polling booth.”
“As a city we must lead by example. Our tourism, hospitality and accommodation providers are suffering. But they are all united in their efforts to be first back into the market with a co-ordinated marketing and promotional campaign when the time is right.
“To protect our industry and thousands of jobs at risk we must do everything to avoid the worst of this hideous virus.
“The solution is obvious. We must protect our community from further spread of the virus. We must not harm our reputation as a thoughtful and progressive city. We must postpone the council elections. Why is this not obvious to others?”
“Up to half the state has already voted,” Dr Williams said yesterday.
Bond University adjunct professor Stephen Holden said images of crowds of voters at polling booths would be bad optics for Queensland as many other developed nations had gone into total lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A spokesman for the Premier said measures had been taken to limit the number of people in polling booths and maintain social distancing.
“The Premier has said she ne mayors and councillors in place to deal with the growing COVID emergency,” the spokesman said.
“Mayors run local disaster management groups who report directly into the Queensland Disaster Management Committee. We need those systems in place. Delaying the election just pushes the settlement of those local management committees further into the unknown.”
Incumbent Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate backed Ms Palaszczuk’s decision, saying it was critical for councils to be freed of caretaker provisions to make decisions.