MAY 2020


Visitors will drive our economy, says mayor

Balonne council says there is 'minimal'
risk as it opens overnight campgrounds


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QUEENSLAND'S Balonne Shire Council has removed the barrier to travellers overnighting at caravan and camping grounds.

The move came as the Sunshine State further eased COVID-19 restrictions to overnight stays in the outback region.

Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O’Toole said the gradual and controlled reopening of the area's tourism industry was vital to the shire’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

"This is a practical measure that recognises the distances and time involved in travelling through the safe outback zone," she said.

The initial ruling was to allow residents within the outback region to undertake day trips within a 500km radius of their home.

However, overnight stays are now permitted allowing motels, hotels and caravan parks to provide accommodation for recreational travel.

The changes in restrictions also mean overnight camping is now permitted.

Council campsites and facilities now welcoming travellers include Wallam Creek (Bollon), Nindigully Tourist & Visitor Area (Nindigully) and Thallon Recreational Grounds (Thallon).

Due to barricading for border closures, the Barwon River Crossing Park at Mungindi will remain closed.

Travellers from the outback region will also be allowed to overnight at Balonne Minor (3km west of Dirranbandi) and Warroo Bridge (50km north of St George).

Cr O'Toole said the easing in restrictions would result in more travellers arriving from other outback towns.

"We need to make these visitors feel welcome, as their business will drive our recovery," she explained.

With travellers only moving between safe zones there was "minimal risk" and residents could feel "confident and comfortable".

"We need to embrace this positive step forward, and I am hoping it will encourage locals to consider staycations within the shire to support our smaller communities who have struggled during the lockdown," she said.

Cr O'Toole emphasised that residents needed to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene as the restrictions eased.


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