Southern Downs Regional Council acknowledges correspondence received from members of the community expressing their dissatisfaction with the Queensland Government’s proposal to exclude unvaccinated people from certain venues.
Council appreciates the complexity of this issue and on 23 November, Mayor Vic Pennisi wrote to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczuk seeking clarification on the proposed State Government COVID-19 regulations effective 17 December 2021 and asking the Premier if there was another way of dealing with this issue. (Download Mayor Pennisi's letter here (PDF 324.4KB))
Council strongly supports the need to keep the Southern Downs community safe and will continue to act on the advice from the Chief Health Officer, however is concerned that proposed changes will cause division in a community already working hard to recover from drought, bushfires, floods and the effects of the global pandemic.
Council has no intention of imposing similar mandates to those proposed by the State Government on Council facilities unless it is required to do so by the State Government leaving Council with no choice in the matter. Council is obligated to follow any directives issued by the Chief Health Officer.
Council CEO Dave Burges commended the community for their support of each other.
“In addition to other pressures recently faced in our region the Southern Downs community have done a commendable job at supporting each other through these difficult times and moving forward Council hopes that we can continue to remain united and respectful of varying opinions within our community,” he said.
From 17 December 2021, Council facilities will be affected as follows:
- Stanthorpe Out of School Hours Care – Only fully vaccinated persons may enter or those with a proven medical contraindication
- Stanthorpe Fitness Centre – Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Southern Downs Libraries (Allora, Warwick, Stanthorpe) – Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Washpool Camping Reserve and Connolly Dam Camping Reserve – Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Warwick Sale Yards – Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Waste Facilities – Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Administration Buildings (Allora, Warwick and Stanthorpe) - Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Council-owned community halls - Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
- Council-managed pools - Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons may enter*
*All facilities must continue to operate under the Queensland Government guidelines for density and utilise the Check-In Queensland App as directed.
The independently operated Warwick Art Gallery and Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery will only allow access to fully vaccinated visitors and staff or those with a medical contraindication as per the current State Government mandate, however this is being reviewed.
Helpful resources for the community to get the correct messaging out to their staff, visitors and clients include: