Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg accused the Queensland government of “double standards” over its arrangements for the AFL grand final.
A confrontation over borders is looming in Friday’s national cabinet meeting of federal, state and territory leaders.
An estimated 400 AFL players and officials – including top executives – have descended on Queensland under special quarantine arrangements.
The federal Treasurer is calling on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to explain the decision.
Chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Wednesday announced the AFL’s showpiece would be held at Brisbane’s Gabba on October 24, the first time it will be played outside Melbourne.
Mr Frydenberg said the football hub showed two sets of rules on borders given regular punters had missed out on vital medical treatment.
“It’s just not on that a young woman can lose an unborn child because of confusion at the borders,” he told the Nine Network on Thursday.
He said a Queensland grandmother recovering from brain surgery was forced to quarantine in a hotel.
“At the same time, footy officials can go down to their hotel bar as they so-called quarantine in Queensland,” the deputy Liberal leader said.
“It seems double standards on our borders.”
The Morrison government is pushing states with low coronavirus cases to relax travel restrictions despite premiers’ actions receiving high approval in polls.
“It’s important that we have more flexibility around our border arrangements not just for the economic outcomes, but also for the health outcomes,” Mr Frydenberg said.
The federal Coalition, which is powerless to open state borders, will push ahead with a national hotspot definition to guide travel rules.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth believes it’s a difficult issue.
“It’s certainly very challenging to adopt a national definition of a COVID hotspot, but it may well be something that we need to do,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Leaders will also discuss a national agriculture code to make moving across borders easier for the industry.
Australia’s expert medical panel – made up of federal and state health officers – rejected a draft code on Tuesday.
Mr Frydenberg hit the airwaves around the country to sell the government’s plan to guide Australia out of the economic wreckage triggered by the virus.
The economy shrank by seven per cent in the June quarter, confirming the nation’s first recession in three decades.
The national coronavirus death toll is 663 after Victoria recorded six deaths on Wednesday.
The state recorded 90 new cases, slightly more than the previous day.
NSW recorded 17 new cases, with one from an unknown source.