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Class action lawsuit a border fiasco option

By Bruce Simmonds - posted Thursday, 26 August 2021

Tweed and Gold Coast businesses and workers driven to financial collapse by the Queensland/ New South Wales border closure restrictions may have grounds for a class action lawsuit.

The Queensland/ New South Wales border has become the front line in the battle against the Covid pandemic as it swamps NSW and creeps north toward an increasingly nervous Queensland.

Queensland has imposed a hard border closure to NSW with police and army personnel checking every vehicle trying to enter the state. The closure and especially tough restrictions on who qualifies as an essential worker, is causing heartache and fury on both sides of the border line as increasing numbers of NSW people are denied access to Queensland.


There's been several calls for the Queensland border to be moved south but the idea has not been approved. Depending on who you talk to, Queensland refused to shift the border or NSW refused to allow it.

Recently the Queensland government reportedly offered to temporarily move the border south, to include much of the Tweed within the Queensland zone.

But media say the NSW Government refused to move the border into the Tweed to help locals caught up in the border restrictions. It's this refusal that could be the trigger for a class action lawsuit.

Workers and businesses suffering because of the border issue could lodge a class action claim against NSW on the grounds that Queensland would allow movement but NSW unreasonably refuses to move the checkpoint bubble south to allow Queensland to apply inspection sites at a new line south of the current border.

While I am not aware of any class action suits underway at present it's a logical consequence for those businesses that face ruin because of the border closures and the strict controls on who can cross the border.

Like Covid creeping into Queensland, a class action case is increasingly just a matter of time.


It could be argued a class action is justified by business and workers across the borders for activity contrary to the mutual obligations created under the Australian Constitution.

Grounds for such an action would include denying access to common labour rights and commerce.

There's a fear the border standoff is a consequence of the widely reported claim that the Queensland and NSW Premiers do not get along together and it's hard to avoid wondering if there's an element of stubbornness in the NSW refusal to allow a temporary border expansion to cover the Tweed area.

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About the Author

Bruce Simmonds is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and Supreme Court of New South Wales. He is the commercial and litigation partner of Parker Simmonds Solicitors and Lawyers at Broadbeach on Queensland's Gold Coast. He has practiced extensively in commercial law and personal injuries. He also works in all other areas of litigation and mediation.

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