The mayor of a small town that straddles the NSW-Queensland border has slammed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as “heartless” for not letting residents cross the border after losing their only supermarket.
Moree Plains Mayor Katrina Humphries says Mungindi residents are now forced to drive to the NSW town of Moree, more than 100 kilometres away, to be able to get food and basic necessities.
But if New South Wales residents of the town travel that far away, they will have to quarantine for two weeks prior to crossing into the Queensland side of the Border Zone – where the other half of their town is – because of existing restrictions.
Ms Humphries told Sunrise she had tried to approach the Queensland Government for help but was “hung up on and sworn at”.
“It’s unnecessary and cruel,” she said, begging the Queensland Premier to “please stop being so heartless” and “stop punishing people who do not need to be punished”
Fire broke out in the small group of shops on September 1, gutting the Spar Supermarket, Reds Quality Meats and clothing store, PJ’s Country Wares.
The incident was just the latest hurdle for a town that has already been ravaged by drought and bushfires.
Ms Humphries said Mungindi would be receiving a $100,000 grant from the NSW Government to rebuild and was trying to make things work with a pop-up supermarket.
“Mungindi is a magnificent community of very brave, proactive and self-helping people,” she said.
“But we need a voice. I have trouble getting my head around the fact that parents are being denied access to their children, and a lot of our kids go to school in Queensland.
“A lot of our medical facilities that we use are in Queensland. We pay for them.
“There is no need for us to be locked out of Queensland. (Ms Palaszczuk) has no jurisdiction over us. She had no right to label (Mungindi) as a hot spot because we are not.”
A spokesman for Annastacia Palaszczuk told NCA Newswire Queensland Health would “work with the community of Mungindi to provide them with whatever support is required to access essential services during this difficult time for the town”.
“Mungindi is within the New South Wales side of the border zone so residents can access the Queensland side of the border zone,” he said.
Currently, Mungindi residents are able to shop in St George and Goondiwindi, and the Queensland Government is understood to be considering options for Moree.
Ms Humphries said the town had long depended on being able to cross the border, and things were much harder without the usual relationship.
“We are so close to being a part of Queensland and we never imagined in a million years that through some cruel twist of fate, inflamed by some cruel-thinking people, that we would be denied access to Queensland,” she said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Mungindi get back on its feet.