It seems Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has finally bitten the bullet and agreed to open Fortress Queensland in time for Christmas on 17th December (for double vaccinated people, at least). But it’s all a bit of coming and going with her. Not so long ago she said opening wasn’t going to happen until 80% of Queenslanders were fully vaccinated. Now, that’s no longer a criterion. They’ll be coming, ready or not, as we used to say in the playground.
Hang on, though. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? Of course not.
From Friday 19 November 2021, people can enter Queensland from a hotspot if they’re fully vaccinated and test negative to COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours. They can only come by air and they must complete 14 days of home quarantine.
From Friday 17 December 2021, fully vaccinated people can enter Queensland from a hotspot by air or road and they don’t need to quarantine.
When Queensland hits the 90% full vaccinated target, Queensland will remove border restrictions and quarantine for fully vaccinated people. Unvaccinated travellers will need to meet requirements for entry and quarantine. [source]
That first condition is the same requirement as anyone travelling internationally from Australia (except the 14 day quarantine). A covid test costs around $150 each and is not covered by Medicare.
And how is that going down with people eager to spend their tourist dollars in Queensland? I saw a comment in the Australian newspaper from one potential visitor who booked for a family of four. When he read the details, he realised that the cost of the holiday had just gone up by $600. He cancelled.
Needless to say, every state has a different policy. New South Wales is allowing arrivals without a border pass for people from all states except Victoria. You’ll need a permit to get into Victoria but the requirements have been eased for those fully vaccinated. Oh – and Melbourne’s latest lockdown will be gradually eased. McGowan is keeping Western Australia safe from the threat of interstate visitors until after Christmas. Etc.
It would be so much easier for everybody if the premiers would stop with the parochial politics and agree on a national position. But that’s not going to happen.
Apart from covid, the biggest conversation piece at the moment is the Glasgow climate conference. If you’ve been a regular visitor to this blog you’d know that while I accept the reality of climate change (but not that it is caused by humans), I don’t think there’s much we mere mortals can do about it. Bleating on about how much one country or another contributes to global emissions is pointless. We in the western world have often reduced our emissions by handing over our industry to China or India, which between them are now the largest source of emissions in the world. Exporting industry elsewhere is nothing more than virtue signalling on a planetary scale. Emissions don’t take much notice of arbitrary political boundaries.
And what does this meeting hope to achieve? Three of the main producers of emissions, China, India, and Russia, won’t be there, and Biden can’t get his climate initiatives through the house. Committing to zero emissions in 2050 is just words, especially in the absence of most of the key ‘culprits’. It cannot be achieved without technologies that at best are in the early stages of development, as reported in the MIT Technology Review.
Here in Australia, the price of electricity has shot up in lock step with the shutting down of coal-fired power stations. Despite what people would like to believe, renewable energy is inherently unreliable, too expensive without subsidies, and takes up far too much valuable land. We should be looking at building High Energy Low Emissions coal powered power stations, like so many other countries in the world, or going to modern nuclear energy which can recycle its waste. Read more here.
<sigh> I don’t think I’ll be around to see what happens in 2050. And I doubt very many of the folks attending that meeting will be, either. It’s probably just as well. Because I suspect the world will be a very different place by then.
Meanwhile, the backyard is full of colour.