Hundreds of locals turned back at border

 

 

MORE than 400 people have been stopped at the border in just 48 hours, most of them Queenslanders who will be forced to fly back in and quarantine in a hotel.

Gold Coast police chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler revealed 407 people were stopped between 4pm Friday to 4pm Sunday after leaving hot spots from interstate.

"In that 1am to 6am period we did measure, we did take some data on Queenslanders. We just wanted to see what sort of turnaround we had for Queensland residents," Supt Wheeler told The Bulletin.

Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW at Griffith Street at Coolangatta after the border closed the NSW. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW at Griffith Street at Coolangatta after the border closed the NSW. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

"We had 18 Queenslanders turned around (just in that time). They will have to fly back to Queensland and undergo 14 days quarantine at their own expense. They will go into the government run hotel.

"If they fly into Brisbane, they will fly into the Brisbane hotel. They could be residents from anywhere in Queensland. Which airport they fly into will dictate which hotel they go into."

Delays at the border peaked at more than 90 minutes on Friday night heading into the 1am tougher restrictions, and dropped to 10 minutes during the weekend. At 6am today it was around 30 minutes.

"It's reduced because of the number of people allowed into Queensland has been cut down dramatically," Supt Wheeler said.

Police are pleased with the new X-pass system, saying most motorists can access their documentation within minutes.

Few motorists after the border closed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Few motorists after the border closed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

Supt Wheeler warned police would conduct checks north of the border on motorists trying to venture outside the bubble.

Tweed residents can only drive as far north as the Gold Coast City Council boundary at Ormeau. The southern cut-off point for Gold Coasters and northern NSW residents is the Tweed Shire boundary.

Confusion has occurred about postcodes eligible to be in the bubble after early release of mapping.

Residents living in postcode 2483 in northern NSW find themselves split - some live within the bubble, and those on the Tweed shire cannot venture south into the Byron Bay shire.

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler at the border. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler at the border. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

"Where we intercept people who have tried to get in one checkpoint, they might go to another checkpoint and have a go, we are able to see where they have been," Supt Wheeler said.

"Sometimes they crumble straight away when police start questioning them, others try to stick with their story. You have to remember you have to prove where you haven't been.

"It's not up to us to prove it. If we are in doubt we don't let you in. So people say 'you can have a look at my phone' - and we do.

"We're not dealing with criminals. We are just dealing with everyday people who want to come to Queensland for whatever reason. If we have doubts they have come from a hot spot, we need them to prove they haven't.

"If they can't prove that we don't have to let them in."

Originally published as Hundreds of locals turned back at border


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