Eye-watering cost of border closure revealed
ALMOST $17 million a day. With an end finally in sight to Queensland's border blockade, The Courier-Mail can reveal the eye-watering cost of the controversial move by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to the state's economy.
Economic modelling by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has forecast that small businesses are suffering to the tune of $16.7 million for every day the borders remain closed.
The new data comes just days after the CCIQ estimated the cost of the coronavirus to the state's economy at $40 billion for the six months to the end of June.
CCIQ economic and policy adviser Jack Baxter said many businesses had been pushed to the brink by the border closure.
"Our modelling shows Queensland businesses are losing close to $17 million per day due to Queensland's borders being closed to interstate travel," he said.
"Small business owners, especially those in the tourism, accommodation, hospitality and retail industries, have been watching their life's work waste away.
"Knowing a date (for the border reopening) will give businesses the chance to plan and be ready to welcome visitors back with open arms, but it will not undo the devastation of the last few months.
"Right now, businesses have been pushed to their limits due to months of uncertainty."
The emergence of the coronavirus threat early this year led to a $13 billion hit to the state economy in the March quarter, with CCIQ projections estimating it will cost a further $27 billion in the June quarter.
While those projections include measures such as the forced closure of shops and even entire industries due to social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions, the new figures are specific to the daily toll of the border closures to interstate travel on the state's tourism, accommodation, hospitality and retail industries, compared to the same period last year.
Josh Martin, CEO of the Connecting Southern Gold Coast business community, said he was not surprised at the astronomical cost of the border blockade.
"We were meant to have our biggest event of the year (Cooly Rocks On) last weekend which usually generates $8 million and it was cancelled," he said.
"For a lot of our businesses, effectively half their market has been shut off for three months.
"Hearing about the reopening from the Prime Minister is the best bit of news our traders have had for a long time but there's still some unknowns.
"Business owners are really looking for any certainty or guarantees so we will just cross our fingers and hope there aren't any more setbacks."
Currumbin MP Laura Gerber said her community was hurting more with each day the borders remain closed.
"People need some certainty and they still don't have it," she said.
"So business owners can plan, so tourists can plan.
"There are so many small businesses in the twin towns (of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta) and it is such an interconnected community.
"The cost of this border closure to my community has been far greater than the cost to the economy."
Originally published as Eye-watering cost of border closure revealed