Australia is a nation of dobbers
Thousands of Victorians are calling the state's crime reporting hotline to dob in people for holding mass gatherings and breaking self-isolation.
In statistics obtained by The Age, more than 600 calls a day are flooding the police assistance line as residents rush to report neighbours for flouting the state and federal government's COVID-19 rules - a spike by 50 per cent in recent weeks.
In the first week of April alone, 22,000 calls were made, putting the month on track to exceed more than 80,000 reports. Of the 22,500 coronavirus-related calls made to the number in the last fortnight, 3781 were to report mass gatherings, 2117 for isolation breaches and 1770 for business breaches.
"Anyone who continues to flout the rules will be dealt with, and we're working with Victoria Police to ensure all calls to the police assistance line are answered and resolved as quickly as possible," Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville said, adding any breaches reported to police would be investigated.
The State Government revealed this week police had issued 491 fines for breaches of Victoria's COVID-19 lockdown rules - three times more than NSW. Individuals caught flouting the rules face an on-the-spot fine of $1652.
Reports made this week included a tip about three friends who did not live together playing video games in a lounge room and details of a dinner party. The party guests were later fined $1652 each for failing to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
Officers also visited the Rebels motorcycle gang's clubhouse in Sunshine West on Tuesday night to discover nine people "socialising at the clubhouse" - each was fined $1652 and told to move on.
"As always, Victoria Police will be closely proactively monitoring all activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs," Victoria Police said in a statement.
"This will include issuing fines whenever they are found breaching the chief health officer's directives by congregating in clubhouses."
Another four people were fined on Tuesday after police found them walking the streets "seeking drugs", and a group of friends were fined for hanging out in a park.
In the lead-up to the Easter long weekend, Premier Daniel Andrews has repeatedly stressed that typical activities like family gatherings and weekends away can't happen this year.
"People should be staying inside and limiting their contact with other people," he said.
"If we try and have an Easter Sunday lunch with grandma and grandpa and the broader family, we are just putting ourselves at risk. The only people who should be gathering is your household."
In NSW, police commissioner Mick Fuller said this morning they've received 5000 Crime Stoppers reports in relation to people breaking restrictions.
"Up to date we have 5000 Crime Stoppers reports in relation to people flouting the laws," he told media this morning.
"From my perspective, that means the community are well behind us on this journey."
The state has now collected more than $140,000 in COVID-19-related infringements, dishing out 136 fines since lockdown laws were introduced on March 17.
Teenagers as young as 15 were issued $1000 tickets in Wollongong for not being home without reasonable excuses on Tuesday, while fines were also handed out to people for sitting at a picnic table, walking down a footpath and being at a friend's house without a valid reason.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian pleaded with people this morning to "really respect the rules, not travel, not leave your home unless you absolutely have to" this Easter.
In Queensland, five young people on the Sunshine Coast were hit with more than $6000 in fines over a noisy party on Tuesday night, reported to police by the hotel they were staying at.
"Five local people have decided to book a room at a hotel and have a party," Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said.
"That is an example of reckless and blatant disregard for what we are trying to achieve here."
Police on the Gold Coast are set to patrol the southern lanes of the M1 highway this weekend, pulling over out-of-town cars and giving them two options: go home, or go home with a $1334 fine.
And it won't just be drivers stung with fines - every person inside the car, if found to be undertaking non-essential travel, can expect to pay the price.
"Stay at home. Travel for essential reasons. Enjoy the time that you have with your family, the time we really get," Ms Carroll said this morning.
"I know the weather is going to be fantastic this weekend, it'll make it more difficult. Please comply with the rules. We will be out there."
Originally published as Australia is a nation of dobbers