Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones. Picture: Liana Turner
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones. Picture: Liana Turner

Border change means more than 100 health workers can return

MORE than 100 healthcare workers who had been stuck in the border bubble will be able to return to their roles from October.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning announced an expansion of the border zone, which will allow more Northern Rivers residents to visit Queensland from October 1.

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The Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes LGAs will be added to the border zone from that date, joining shires which sit on the border, including the Tweed and Tenterfield LGAs.

The Queensland government has confirmed residents of those regions will be able to travel to any part of Queensland, and Queenslanders will be able to visit any part of the broader border bubble after the changes come into effect.

A Queensland Border Declaration Pass will still be required.

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said he was waiting on direct confirmation from the Queensland government that the change would unlock all of the Sunshine State for Far North Coast residents, as this detail had been reported in the media but not yet included on the Queensland Health website.

But he said the change would be a welcome one.

"I think the Palaszczuk government, supported by Dr Jeannette Young the Chief Health Officer, have listened to out arguments and seen the logic of our arguments," Mr Jones said.

He said the "strong leadership" of NSW's Berejiklian government had also played a part.

"It is good news," Mr Jones said.

"It will allow us to get the vast majority of our workforce back working in the community.

"We've been without about 111 (workers)."

He said more than 100 could definitely return, although he was awaiting confirmation from the authorities that we Queensland side of the border bubble would no longer be in place.

"We need to see it on the government website," he said.

In the months without those staff members, he said the heath district had to be "innovative" and to rely on the staff they could access.

He said those Northern NSW-based staff had "put in the hard yards" and would be pleased to see the return of their colleagues.