The ongoing political stoush around Queensland border is heating up again in Australia as the federal government redeploys 110 soldiers from North Queensland to Western Australia.
For those who aren’t familiar with the situation, Australia’s Liberal federal government is urging states to open their borders with low case numbers everywhere in the country besides Victoria. Queensland’s Labor government has been steadfastly refusing. Several other states (Wa, Tasmania) have also declined, but with a state election coming up in Queensland this border fight has gotten a little dirty.
This report Via the AAP:
The federal government has deployed 110 Australian soldiers based in north Queensland to help with quarantine duties in Western Australia.
The deployment was approved on September 23, the day after the federal government announced that Australian Defence Force personnel would be withdrawn from Queensland’s border with NSW.
At least three federal cabinet ministers insisted that the troops were redeployed to prepare for the upcoming storm season in Queensland’s north.
The state’s Labor government claimed the withdrawal was political and intended as payback in an ongoing stoush over the border.
An ADF spokesperson has confirmed that 110 Townsville-based troops are deployed on quarantine duties in WA.
“About 100 personnel from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and 3rd Combat Signal Regiment (part of Army’s 3rd Brigade) have deployed to Western Australia to support hotel quarantine compliance tasks,” a defence spokesperson told AAP.
“Additionally, following a request for assistance from the Western Australian Government, 10 ADF personnel are supporting WA Health quarantine compliance monitoring at the Hedland Hotel.”
“This is due to the increased passenger caps and the number of Australians expected to return home.
The revelation that Queensland-based troops have been redeployed in another state has reignited a smoldering federal-state dispute over the border.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said pulling soldiers from the NSW border has put pressure on Queensland police and lead to delays for people trying to cross.
He said the timing of the redeployment showed the federal government was acting for “purely political” reasons.
“It’s absolutely galling that they’d now transfer our troops from Townsville to WA,” Dr Miles told AAP.
“Every person who had to wait at the border today should know it was because the LNP cared more about the WA border than they did about them.”
Comment has been sought from the federal government.