Cape York lockdown eases


Karlie Brady


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Vehicle check points remain in place throughout the far north district. Image: SC Mike Oliver.

Families separated across the Far North will be able to reunite following a change to Cape York travel restrictions from midnight last night but it’s not good news for tourists yet.

The Federal Government has ended the biosecurity lockout of Cape York and handed control back to the state.

Under the changes, the Queensland Chief Health Officer has defined what is required for travel in and out of designated areas.

There are now declared travel zones for each designated area which allows a resident to travel anywhere in their declared travel zone for any purpose such as shopping or to visit friends and family.

This means residents in the Cape York designated area, including Cook Shire and Weipa, will be allowed to travel to places such as Douglas Shire and Cairns without any restrictions or quarantine.

However, Douglas residents or others in the declared zone can only travel into the Cape York designated area for the purposes of visiting family. No quarantine will be required.

Entry restrictions still apply if visiting for any other purpose.

Tourist and visitors from outside the declared zone will still not be permitted to enter unless they have an exemption.

Designated Area:

  • Torres Strait Island
  • Torres Shire
  • Northern Peninsula Area
  • Mapoon
  • Napranum
  • Aurukun
  • Pormpuraaw
  • Kowanyama
  • Lockhart River
  • Cook Shire
  • Hope Vale
  • Wujal Wujal
  • Weipa Town Area

Can travel to their Declared Travel Zone:

  • Douglas
  • Cairns
  • Carpentaria
  • Mareeba
  • Tablelands

Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch believes the changes don’t go far enough with business in those regions severely hurting.

“I think it absolutely ridiculous what is happening at the moment,” he said.

Mr Entsch said he believed each separate community should instead be able to decide if and when they wanted to reopen, leaving others the freedom to open.

“I know there are concerns in indigenous communities about opening up. There is absolutely no reason why those concerned can’t remain in lockdown as long as they like,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean to say that we have to trash the economy of the Cook Shire.

“The premier now has overridden the authority of the mayors," he said.

Police have warned that vehicle checkpoints will still be strategically positioned throughout the Far North to restrict non-essential travel into designated areas.

Non-exempt people will be refused entry to these areas and will be turned around.

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