Cars still crossing despite border shutdown

 

 

PLANS to completely close the Queensland border appear to have changed overnight.

Police have set up major roadblocks on the M1 and Gold Coast Highway at Bilinga but the road has not been blocked at Tweed Heads.

Cars line up at a police checkpoint at Bilinga on the Gold Coast. Picture: Greg Stolz
Cars line up at a police checkpoint at Bilinga on the Gold Coast. Picture: Greg Stolz

Wharf St between Tweed Heads and Coolangatta remains open and the backstreets often used to cross the border are also roadblock-free.

Authorities had said they would seal the backstreets and Griffith St at Coolangatta which leads directly into Tweed Heads.

At present, you can still drive freely between Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.

Meanwhile, it's expected to still be some time before residents along the NSW-Queensland border obtain official access passes.

 

Police stop a car on the Gold Coast Highway at Coolangatta overnight. Picture: Regi Varghese/AAP
Police stop a car on the Gold Coast Highway at Coolangatta overnight. Picture: Regi Varghese/AAP

State Disaster Co-ordinator Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said motorists crossing the Queensland border needed to be patient as authorities worked through the logistics of who to allow, and not allow, to pass.

He said residents would soon be able to apply online for a pass but the system was not yet available.

"Vehicle passes to cross the border … won't be ready tonight (Wednesday)," he said

"We acknowledge this inconvenience may be quite challenging for some people, but we appeal to them to comply with our directions to help manage the impact of COVID-19 on our community."

He admitted there may be instances where people cross the border, but the measures had been put in place to protect the community.

"The fact that someone might sneak through somewhere in the back of beyond, on some dirt track is probably not the focus for this, " he said.

"This is really about the big numbers of people on major corridors."

The border crossing ban includes pedestrians.

A police officer speaks to the driver of a vehicle at a roadblock near the Queensland-NSW border overhigh. Picture: Regi Varghese/AAP
A police officer speaks to the driver of a vehicle at a roadblock near the Queensland-NSW border overhigh. Picture: Regi Varghese/AAP

"Even people with an exemption, it is going to take time to get across the border. There will be lengthy delays. My plea is to show patience," Mr Gollschewski said.

"The same exemptions apply whether you are walking across the road, walking across the border at Tweed Heads or coming in on a boat."

Police officers will also be stationed at passenger arrival gates at Gold Coast Airport to brief passengers on their obligations if they are required to self- isolate and determine if they meet the criteria to be exempted.

Motorists will be turned away at the border if they are not exempt or can't adequately demonstrate they can go into isolation in Queensland for 14 days.

Those not travelling for work, medical appointments or delivering freight are barred from crossing the border.

 

Originally published as Cars still crossing despite border shutdown



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