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Community & Business

13 January, 2022

A New Year message and COVID-19 update from Member for Southern Downs James Lister

With 2022 now well underway Member for Southern Downs James Lister has released a statement to wish the residents in his electorate a Happy New Year and provide an update on the current COVID-19 situation.

James and Belinda Lister with their new daughter, Amelia.

“Belinda and I wish everyone in our electorate of Southern Downs a Happy New Year,” Mr Lister said.

“I won’t miss the past two years to be honest.

“Apart from the joyous arrival of our third child Amelia last month, 2020 and 2021 will be remembered as COVID years.

“As years of major disruptions to peoples’ lives and livelihoods - especially in our electorate, which occupies about 400km of QLD/NSW border territory.

“From the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I voted in parliament to grant the premier and her state government the emergency funds and powers they asked for to manage COVID and to keep COVID out of Queensland.

“But even though I’m triple vaccinated myself, I do not agree with coercive and discriminatory policies on COVID vaccination.

“The state government’s most recent parliamentary bill for extending their emergency COVID powers proposed that those powers should continue until April 2022 at least.

“I opposed such a long extension of emergency powers, because the Premier had previously committed Queensland to ending restrictions when the state reached the 80% vaccinated mark (which occurred in December last year).

“Accordingly, in parliament I voted against the government’s April 2022 emergency powers extension, and instead I voted to end restrictions by December 2021.

“Had my vote been on the winning side, we would not be facing restrictions on unvaccinated people now.

“The state government however used its numbers in parliament to force through the extension of their powers (including the power to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people) up until at least April 2022.

“They did not satisfactorily explain the reason for dishonouring their earlier agreement to end restrictions in December 2021.

“Our economy in Southern Downs is overwhelmingly a private sector one.

“Our farmers and small businesses drive economic output, and they employ the majority of our workforce.

“It is the economic activity and the taxes paid by farmers, small businesses and their staff which funds the social security, infrastructure, and government services which society depends upon.

“So it irritates me to see that the state government has used their long-extended emergency powers (which I opposed), to impose legal restrictions on the movements of unvaccinated people.

“Not only is that unfair to the individuals concerned, it also hurts our hard working small businesses and farmers and their staff.

“Let’s pray that restrictions of all kinds end in the coming months, and that 2022 is the year we look back on as the year when we conquered COVID.”

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