Queensland becomes latest state to close its borders

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government has tipped $17 million into research for a vaccine for COVID-19

"We've notified the Department of Education of these concerns and as a result are requesting the Queensland Government close schools from Wednesday onwards".

Border travel will be policed in an RBT-style with officers to determine who needs to cross.

"I've been engaging with Queensland industry and business and we've taken on board what they've said".

She told The Courier Mail teachers who were at high risk of coronavirus should speak to their principals and consider staying home from work.

'As far as possible, they should be staying in their suburbs and as much as possible staying at home'.

The move follows decisions from Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and ACT to impose a 14-day quarantine period on any "non-essential" visitors.

Travelling to work, to the supermarket, the pharmacy and the petrol station is classed as essential.

It will also be used to expand fever clinics on demand and rapidly deploy hundreds of hospital beds if and when they are needed.

The money will also boost the 13 HEALTH phone service and continue non-urgent elective surgeries.

"Combined with the payroll tax deferrals we've already announced, it means no Queensland business impacted by COVID-19 will need to make a payroll tax payment this year".

Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said today's stimulus package is in addition to recently announced initiatives, including the dedicated small business hotline (1300 654 687) which has seen around 2000 business contacts so far.

"For small and medium businesses and large businesses specifically impacted by COVID-19, we will refund two months' worth of payroll tax".

"For small and medium businesses, we will refund two months' worth payroll tax, putting an average of nearly $9000 into the hands of each one of these businesses".

More than 12,000 businesses will also get a tax holiday for the next three months.

"That $2.5 billion includes a package of up to $500 million to assist workers who lose their job or income and to help them find jobs in the industries that are vital to getting us through this crisis - health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining".



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