Lone Qld region remains free of COVID-19

Laine Clark |

Boulia in Queensland’s far west is the state’s only local government area with no COVID-19 cases.
Boulia in Queensland’s far west is the state’s only local government area with no COVID-19 cases.

A remote Queensland region that champions camel races and the mysterious Min Min Lights now has another claim to fame.

Boulia in the state’s far west is officially the only local government area to not have recorded a case in Queensland’s COVID-19 surge.

Boulia mayor Eric Britton doesn’t seem surprised.

Social distancing is not a problem for the outback region that spans more than 61,000 square kilometres and boasts barely 600 people.

“And everyone is doing the right thing with masks and washing their hands and that – I am pretty proud of them,” he told AAP.

“The saying around here is ‘being responsible is our own responsibility’.”

Mr Britton reckons there’s another reason why COVID-19 hasn’t taken off in his region.

“They tell me the heat rolls it,” he said.

“And we have had a fortnight of about 40-plus (degrees Celsius). That should kill anything.

“It could be one of the reasons why we are very lucky.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath confirmed Boulia had claimed the honour of being Queensland’s last region standing on Monday.

“One more (area) Pormpuraaw (in Cape York) has shown their first positive case,” she said.

“Which means there’s one local government authority in Queensland that has not reported a positive case since the wave started on December 13 – and that’s Boulia.”

It’s another feather in the Akubra for Boulia which aims to become synonymous with hosting “Australia’s richest camel race” every July.

The area is also the self-proclaimed home of the Min Min Lights – mysterious, fast-moving balls of colour at night that are either atmospheric refraction or an Aboriginal folk tale.

But Mr Britton doesn’t expect Boulia to have the distinction of being Queensland’s sole COVID-free region for long.

“Our community is well aware that it is not a matter of if we get COVID, it is when,” he said.

“We just hope that we can keep it out until after the peak is over, that will relieve pressure on everyone.

“We have only got a healthcare unit. The nearest hospital is in Mt Isa, 300 kilometres away. You need to take a cut lunch for the Isa.”