“My specialist advice is that we cannot allow people to quarantine elsewhere other than hotel quarantine or in hospital there is too much of a risk for the Queensland community,” she said.
Since June, Queensland Health has had 34,774 exemption applications for interstate travellers to enter Queensland, visit a dying relative or for other reasons.
Only 104 of those were approved, the majority for interstate arrivals with complex medical needs, a Queensland Health spokesman said on Wednesday.
Only one international traveller has been granted an exemption since November 1, which the spokesman said had been granted two months prior and “would not have been approved under the current circumstances”.
Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said Queenslanders were “rightfully mad” when exemptions were granted to sporting codes and entertainers to enter the state under differing quarantine arrangements.
Ms Bates said the LNP had “consistently said the medical advice should be released publicly so everyone gets a better understanding of why these decisions are being made”.
“Labor’s priorities were to put celebrities first, while Queenslanders who had major surgery were placed in hotel quarantine for their recovery,” she said.
A spokesman for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all exemptions “are a matter for the CHO and her exemptions team”.
“These decisions are made by doctors, not politicians,” he said.
“The Chief Health Officer has released her medical advice and been questioned on it in public at media conferences more than 100 times during 2020. The CHO has been available to answer any and all questions put to her at any time.”
The RTI documents also revealed an apparent miscommunication between police and the health department over Minogue’s private quarantine arrangements.
A police detective superintendent from the taskforce managing COVID-19 compliance emailed the State Health Emergency Coordination Centre on July 14 asking who was responsible for checking Minogue.
“This responsibility has traditionally rested with Task Force Sierra Linnet where people are in self-quarantine in the community however we are currently unaware of the arrangements made between Q-Health and Ms Minogue,” the email said.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said he did not comment on individual cases, but the Queensland quarantine system was “the best in the world”.
“There’s obviously processes that have gone backwards and forwards between Queensland Police and Queensland Health,” he said.
“Let’s look at the system we had in place, the system we’ve still got in place today – saving lives, keeping us safe, allowing our economy to reopen and allowing us to enjoy the freedoms we’ll enjoy tonight.”
Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.