‘Little science’: Skroo’s sleuthing blows lid off lockdowns
Hundreds of secret Queensland Health documents show the State Government relied upon "little scientific evidence" in its controversial decision to close Queensland's borders, a tourism mogul has declared.
Flight Centre CEO Graham Turner said his Right to Information request had unearthed hundreds of pages of talking points, but no health advice to justify the ongoing border closure - a claim the Government denies.
The 237-page RTI document dump reveals how Queensland Health bureaucrats raced against the clock in September to develop a border policy they said would help contain COVID-19 while also making crossings easier for people living on both sides of the Tweed and in the Canberra.
Draft talking points, which would later be publicly spruiked by the government and health officials, note the state's border control had been "effective" in keeping case numbers low and warned interstate travel could create "a risk for community transmission" if the Queensland border opens.
The guidelines were developed just days after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young were widely criticised for refusing to let Canberra resident Sarah Caisip attend her father's funeral in Brisbane.
However the documents have been slammed by Mr Turner, who said they offered little insight into the health advice relied upon to keep the border closed to wider New South Wales in September.
"Most people realise there's little science to this - it's a finger-in-the-air strategy," he said.
"It's not terribly scientific, but I wouldn't expect anything else.
"I think it shows there is no evidential proof that things like shutting borders helps control the virus."
A government spokesman refuted Mr Turner's claims.
"The advice of Australia's most experienced Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, is based on the best medical science," he said.
"Health decisions have saved lives while guiding Queensland through the pandemic."
The guidelines revealed in the RTI, which Dr Young in an email described as "an amazing piece of work", included details to enforce an expanded border zone and opened travel to the ACT.
"Changes to the direction are needed as part of a gradual easing of border restrictions in response to the decreasing risk of transmission across the border," they noted.
Mr Turner, whose Flight Centre travel business has been decimated by ongoing domestic and international border closures, has been a persistent critic of the Government's economic response to the pandemic.
"It's frustrating to nearly everyone," he said.
"These hard border closures haven't been used generally by New South Wales, and the results - low cases - have been the same.
"I think everyone is frustrated by the lack of consistency in the way Queensland has been acting in this."
Originally published as 'Little science': Skroo's sleuthing blows lid off lockdowns