DOUBLE STANDARDS: Anger builds over ‘unfair’ COVID fines
ANGER is building after rural pubs were hit with $6672 fines for COVID breaches while fines are yet to be dished out to Brisbane nightclubs where revellers ignored dance bans.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has accused authorities of unfairly cracking down on outback pubs while letting city nightclubs and protesters breach strict social distancing, in a sentiment echoed by western Queensland businesses.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to explain why outback pubs have been fined for people playing pool but it seems anything goes at protests or nightclubs," Ms Frecklington said.
"The lives and livelihoods of Queenslanders are too important to be put at risk by a government that isn't enforcing the rules."
"This only works if one set of rules is equally applied for everyone."
The anger follows a Queensland Police operation to Western Queensland last week, where three pubs were hit with $6672 fines for breaching COVID-19 guidelines.
Owner of Wallumbilla's The Federal Hotel, Samantha Senescall, said she had already been struggling to get back due to the crippling drought.
She said she was fine for 'a range of things' but wasn't given a specific reason.
"I was contemplating closing," Ms Senescall said.
"We only really stayed open because we are the only hotel in town and it was just locals who just said "don't shut, don't shut"."
"To cop that fine was just like I can't do this anymore, I'm so far behind in payments."
Roma's 99 on Royal owner Bruce Garvie said he was angry at the apparent double standard.
"It's quite disgraceful really," he said.
"You've got to see where we stand, it's the little man and the cops every time."
Queensland police have said businesses owners had continued to breach directions, despite having been spoken to "at length".
Meanwhile, a police spokesperson said police were still investigating apparent breaches in Brisbane and would take "necessary enforcement action if licensed premises are found to be blatantly flouting the rules.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in regards to the closed nightclubs said, "They did submit COVID-Safe plans, so if they have breached those COVID-Safe plans then there could be fines imposed."
"It is unfortunate that some (nightclubs) did breach those rules," she said.
"That's a matter for police and I do hope that some day in the near future we'll be able to go back to some sort of normality.
Originally published as DOUBLE STANDARDS: Anger builds over 'unfair' COVID fines