"It is time for state leaders to acknowledge that it was not border closures that prevented transmission of COVID-19 – it was the social distancing, testing and other measures that stopped the spread. NSW and Victoria were open but transmission between them was both manageable and relatively negligible.
"We need to hit the fast forward on our economy and relying on the cover of local health advice when the national advice is the opposite is unsustainable. It is time for elected officials whose job it is to balance risks to decide the future of our states and communities.
"As Ai Group has argued from the very start of this crisis, we need to continue the fight against the pandemic as Australians and make united decisions based on balanced decision making from our leaders. We need to take all factors into account including health advice and not make decisions on one factor to the exclusion of all others.
"Our focus in dealing with the pandemic needs to be on protecting communities that are united by geography, family and social connections and not address the problems on the basis of dividing them along 19th Century borders.
"Alfred Deakin spoke of our Federation as being ‘a union with strong foundations set deep in justice, a union which will endure from age to age’ providing ‘the priceless heritage of a happy and united land’. That heritage and that union is being undermined by states that see their populations as Australians second," Mr Willox said.
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