The Chronicle

Premier living in state of ‘denial’

- HELENA BURKE

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been slammed for airing concerns about Covid-19 in children that federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says contradict the medical advice and exhibit a “denial of reality”.

Ms Palaszczuk on Wednesday withdrew her support for the national reopening plan once the vaccinatio­n targets are reached, declaring opening Queensland’s borders would be too risky for unvaccinat­ed children.

“You open up this state and you let the virus in here and every child under 12 is vulnerable, every single child,” she told the Queensland parliament.

Ms Palaszczuk demanded more research be presented on the dangers of Covid-19 for kids before she would reaffirm her commitment to the national plan.

“I want to see a paper. I don’t want to see a slide show, I want to see detailed informatio­n,” she said. “I want to know what is going to happen to the children of this state.”

But Mr Frydenberg said Ms Palaszczuk was deluded, as medical advice clearly indicated the national reopening plan was safe for children.

“She said she’s scared for Queensland kids, does that wash with you?” Sunrise host David Koch asked Mr Frydenberg.

“No. It’s a desperate denial of the reality and is not based on the medical advice,” the Treasurer replied on Thursday.

Mr Frydenberg stressed the medical advice given to the federal government said Covid-19 was “much less severe” in children than adults.

“The medical advice is that we should vaccinate people aged 12 to 15 – which we’re doing,” the Treasurer said.

“The medical advice is what we are following. The medical advice is what the Doherty modelling is based on.”

Mr Frydenberg then warned Ms Palaszczuk about the consequenc­es and realities of attempting to follow a zero-Covid policy past the vaccinatio­n reopening targets.

“The states and territorie­s should have no expectatio­n that that level of economic support that we are providing today will continue once we reach those 70 per cent to 80 per cent targets,” he told the Today show.

“The people of Queensland are recognisin­g they have to live with Covid – it’s a reality that is now being accepted.

“They can’t eliminate (Covid-19). No country has eliminated it. That is why it’s so important we stick to the plan and open up accordingl­y.”

But Ms Palaszczuk insisted her state’s hospital system would crumble if Delta crossed into Queensland’s borders.

“The peak (in infections) is not going to be until October. If you want to see a health system on the verge of collapse, you will see that in October,” she told the Queensland parliament on Wednesday.

“I don’t want that here.” Despite Ms Palaszczuk’s concerns, Mr Frydenberg maintained that for the sake of the economy, the Premier should follow the national plan.

“In Queensland, the tourism businesses are doing it really tough,” he said.

“Why does (Ms Palaszczuk) want to keep the borders closed when the rest of the country is opening up?”

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