Calls to reopen the Queensland border have been ramped up following the devastating fire in the border town of Mungindi which destroyed the town's only supermarket and butcher shop on Tuesday night.
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries has slammed Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as "heartless" for her refusal to reopen the border after the Mungindi community lost their only supermarket to fire.
"Stop being so cruel - you're punishing people that do not need to be punished," she said on Sunrise on Thursday morning.
"It's so wrong and so unnecessary.
"Please move off your pedestal, open the borders and let people live their lives."
The reality of the harsh border closure is being acutely felt by Mungindi residents, who have been cut off from their food supply following Tuesday night's fire which has left the town without a supermarket or butcher shop.
With Mungindi part of the Queensland border bubble - one side of the town is in NSW and the other in Queensland - the loss of these stores will make life even more difficult for locals who will now need to leave the bubble to access essential supplies.
Cr Humphries said the issue facing residents is if they travel to Moree, which is outside the border bubble, for groceries, they would potentially have to isolate for two weeks if they then need to access medical services, or their own home, on the Queensland side of town.
"This is about the final straw," she said.
"Since I've been mayor in 2008, Mungindi were flooded in 2011 and 2012 and they then went into the most diabolical drought and then this bloody border closure is hard enough to manage without the fire to the supermarket. It's just awful."
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has submitted a formal proposal to the Queensland government, requesting that Moree be temporarily added into the border bubble so if Mungindi residents travel to Moree to access the basics, they won't be prevented from accessing the hospital or their doctors on the Queensland side of town.
"No-one can justify making people choose between getting groceries or seeing your doctor," Mr Marshall said.
The proposal has been backed by the whole of the NSW government, and Mr Marshall is hopeful that will be approved within days.
On Tuesday night, the state government announced $100,000 to establish a temporary grocery store in Mungindi to provide residents with access to food, however that will take time to be set up.
In the meantime, businesses from Moree and Goondiwindi will be delivering food to the community, so "no-one's going to starve", but Cr Humphries said the loss of a supermarket is more than just having access to essential items.
"But there's also a social aspect to not having a supermarket," she said.
"They've got quite an aged community out there and some people live on their own. They'd wander down to the supermarket and have a little chat. And butchers are the most friendly people in the world, so not having that is a loss for the community as well."
Queensland Premier @AnnastaciaMP is under fire over her 'cruel' refusal to reopen the state border to those who desperately need access.— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) September 2, 2020
Locals in border town Mungindi have been cut off from their food supply by the travel ban.
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