'What a joke': Queensland Premier savaged over Suncorp Stadium crowd

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Brisbane Broncos fans, pictured here at Suncorp Stadium.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has come under fire after allowing a capacity crowd at Suncorp Stadium. Image: Getty

Queenslanders were left gobsmacked on Sunday when a crowd of over 13,000 was allowed at Suncorp Stadium just one day after the state's snap lockdown ended.

All parts of Queensland came out of lockdown over the weekend after cases of the highly contagious Delta strain, and the Alpha strain, were detected in the state's southeast.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Queenslanders on Sunday that they're not entirely out of the woods, but new figures are promising.

"It appears everything is under control at this point in time so we are very, very relieved about that," Ms Palaszczuk said as she reminded people in areas that were locked down to keep wearing masks.

Authorities initially reported just two new cases on Sunday - one involving the Alpha strain linked to a cluster associated with a Greek community centre and a Portuguese restaurant, the other acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

But late on Sunday a third case was added - another case of local transmission linked to that same cluster. It will be formally included in Monday's case numbers.

So it was particularly confronting for some Queenslanders to see such a big crowd at Suncorp Stadium for the Brisbane Broncos' clash with Cronulla on Sunday afternoon.

Over 13,000 fans turned up to watch the match - with no restrictions placed on the size of the crowd allowed.

Many were left fuming that the NRL was allowed such a big crowd when restrictions remain on the size of weddings, funerals and live music gigs.

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Chief Health Officer defends decision over Suncorp crowd

There was similar anger when the Queensland government allowed a capacity crowd of 52,000 attend Game II of the State of Origin series at Suncorp last week - just one day before the lockdown was announced.

With the case added late on Sunday, Queensland currently has 47 active cases.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young was confident enough with the situation to let Sunday's match between the Broncos and Sharks proceed at Suncorp Stadium without crowd restrictions.

She said the game was ticketed and all attendees could be easily traced, with everyone forced to check in on arrival, and there's never been a coronavirus outbreak at any Queensland stadium.

"I am as comfortable as I can be that they are no riskier - in fact, I think safer than a lot of our indoor venues," she said.

Brisbane Broncos players, pictured here celebrating their victory over Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane Broncos players celebrate their victory over Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Opposition leader David Crisafulli said Sunday's numbers were very welcome but small and family-owned businesses continue to hurt, especially during a lockdown and in the immediate aftermath.

He's repeated demands for the premier to immediately stump up money for smaller operators, saying Queensland was on its own in terms of refusing to provide that support.

"Businesses are prepared to accept the health advice for the greater good but when a decision is taken beyond their control, they need to know they don't have to carry the full burden all on their own," he said.

Lockdown orders lifted for Brisbane and Moreton Bay at 6pm on Saturday and a day earlier for nine other local government areas in the southeast, Townsville, and Magnetic and Palm islands.

with AAP

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