‘Extremely disappointed’ Queenslanders who failed to rush across the border before the 1am shutdown have been among 142 refused entry.
‘Extremely disappointed’ Queenslanders who failed to rush across the border before the 1am shutdown have been among 142 refused entry.

142 ‘extremely disappointed’ travellers given cold shoulder

More than 140 vehicles have been turned back at the border this morning as Queensland slammed the door shut to 14 million Australians.

Queensland has banned those travelling from NSW and the ACT from entering the state - joining Victorians who were barred several weeks ago in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It comes as Victoria recorded 466 new cases overnight with 12 more people dying including a man in his 30s.

Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said 142 vehicles - including 18 Queenslanders - were refused entry in the first five hours of the closure after failing to make the 1am deadline to cross before the hard border began.

He described the reaction by those refused entry as 'disappointed' and the 18 Queenslanders were 'particularly disappointed' because they would now have to pay to fly back home and then spend two weeks in hotel quarantine.

"The 18 Queenslanders were particularly disappointed because it's going to mean a considerable expense to them (in quarantine)," he said.

Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW ahead of the border closure. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW ahead of the border closure. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

"It's a very costly exercise (but) there was significant warning put out during the week.

"This is all about keeping COVID-19 out of Queensland."

He said there was an influx of people rushing to cross the border in the three hours before the 1am lockdown last night with major delays stretching for 90 minutes and 64 people sent to quarantine.

He said entering the state was now "the exception rather than the rule" and there would be consequences for those caught flouting the system.

"Those people who lied on their border declaration passes, and we've charged a number of them, they'll find themselves before court," he said.

Queensland police officers arrest four males at 1am on QLD/NSW border crossing. Photo: Scott Powick
Queensland police officers arrest four males at 1am on QLD/NSW border crossing. Photo: Scott Powick

"Instead of getting an on-the-spot fine of over $4000, they'll find themselves in court, facing a fine of up to $13,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

"It's a really serious offence."

There has been criticism of the new border pass arrangements, with the forms not being available online until after the deadline of 1am.

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said it would have been 'ideal' for the new forms, or 'X passes' to be available before the new restrictions came in, but the situation is still rapidly changing.

"I ask people to be patient," he said.

"I'm told that (this morning) the system is working really well."

The border has now slammed shut. Photo: Scott Powick
The border has now slammed shut. Photo: Scott Powick

Delays at the border have now eased significantly.

Under the new restrictions, anyone who has been in NSW, Victoria or the ACT - including Queensland residents - will be banned from entering Queensland via road.

Residents returning home will have to fly and then pay for mandatory quarantine.

A travel bubble for border community residents of the Gold Coast and Tweed has been set up that will allow people who live either side to move freely for any reason.

However, they will not be allowed to travel deeper in to respective states.

For instance, Gold Coasters are not allowed to travel to Byron Bay or beyond unless granted a special exemption or performing an essential service.

Conversely, Tweed residents will not be allowed to travel north of the Gold Coast.

 

Originally published as 142 refused entry as QLD slams border shut


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