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Qld’s ridiculous $150 border charge

    Queensland is just weeks away from hitting its 80 per cent double dose vaccination target, but even when the state hits the milestone, a number of bizarre restrictions are expected to stay.

    The Sunshine State hit 70 per cent double dose vaccination earlier this week, allowing thousands of Queenslanders stranded across Australia to return home.

    And when the state hits 80 per cent – currently projected to occur on or before December 17 – all Australians, even those living in hotspots, will be able to cross the border.

    This, however, is on the proviso they’ve returned a negative Covid test within 72 hours of their flight into Queensland and are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

    Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled

    The same travel freedoms will also be afforded to Queensland residents, with many hoping to go interstate during the festive period.

    But as set out in Queensland’s road map, revealed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on October 18, a negative Covid test is still required whether you enter the Sunshine State by road or air. And the negative test within 72 hours applies to anyone who’s been to a hotspot within 14 days.

    Currently, all of NSW, the ACT and Victoria are declared hotspots by Queensland.

    Getting a Covid test to travel must be done by a private lab, with pathology centres charging anywhere from $150 to $300 for a PCR swab, depending on how quickly you need it.

    This means Queenslanders hoping to even get down to Byron Bay for a quick beach trip could be slugged with $150 tests.

    The only way Queensland residents would avoid hundreds of dollars in extra costs would be if the state dropped these hotspot declarations before the middle of December.

    The Queensland Government is yet to confirm if it will drop the PCR test requirement when the state hits 80 per cent double dose vaccination.

    While normally free, PCR tests for travellers must be done privately and paid for. Picture: Prakash Singh/AFP

    It is hoped the Government will allow a negative test from a public testing facility, that conducts PCR tests for free.

    The PCR test requirements have been slammed by travel companies and airlines, who see the expensive test as an impediment to reviving the industry.

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said last week he hoped testing requirements would be dropped for fully vaccinated travellers soon.

    “Hopefully, these conditions – particularly PCR testing at every turn – is dispensed with as Australia becomes more confident living with Covid. Surely that’s something we’ve all earned,” he told the airline’s AGM.

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