Qantas: Alan Joyce would like some rules based order for state border closures
At the statement of Qantas financial year results, Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO has asked for a bit more predictability when it comes to Australian states border closures.
Given that co-ordinating Australian state premiers is a bit like herding cats, this might be a bigger ask than he thinks.
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Border closures are popular
The problem for Joyce is that border closures are popular, so if you are a state premier with an election around the corner – I’m looking at you Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk – and you want to woo those regional and remote voters, because you have the suburbs sown up – then are you going to listen to those voters, or to Alan Joyce of AU$24 million a year salary package fame?
The voters win, hands down.
Alan Joyce is probably right
It would help if there were some publicly available guidelines – like if cases get above this ‘Z’ number, or if we see a rise in ‘X’ period of more than ‘Y’ per cent of cases, or community spread gets to this many cases or something.
It would certainly add to predictability for the airlines, not to mention for business people for whom travel is fairly essential, as well as tourist and hotel operators and leisure travellers who are desperate for a break.
Will it happen? Probably not, unless the business and tourist industry can successfully lobby those premiers.
I would love the borders to be open – especially between South Australia and New South Wales.
Full disclosure – I should be in Adelaide and not Sydney to assist with the sale of my childhood home. Instead, I am having to offer advice remotely, and will probably not get a final look at where I spent 18 years growing up before it is sold.
However, if border closures help with the containment and suppression of this pandemic in Australia, then I am fine with that loss.
Setting some rules about what triggers the closure of state borders and what re-opens them is a great idea. The problem is that would require consensus on what we are trying to do with this COVID-19 – suppression, or like New Zealand, elimination of community spread, and it seems no one can agree on that.