Victorian charged with breaching self-quarantine direction hours after crossing border into SA


A Melbourne man has been charged with failing to follow directions to self-isolate for two weeks upon his arrival in South Australia.

SA Police attended a property in Glenelg about 8:00pm on Thursday after receiving information the man was not quarantining at the place nominated by him following his entry into the state from Victoria on Wednesday.

On arrival, police allegedly spotted the man leaving and driving away in a Holden SUV.

Patrols followed the man and upon stopping his car, discovered he had only booked himself accommodation for a single night, as opposed to the 13 nights he was required to self-isolate.

The 35-year-old from Keysborough, in Melbourne’s south-east, has been charged with failing to comply with a direction, and was refused bail.

He appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday and was remanded in custody to reappear on August 12.

The arrest came a day after the hard closure of the border with Victoria came into effect, with the SA Government citing the eastern state’s “clear threat” to public health.

Cars lined up at a border checkpoint at Bordertown.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

Only SA residents or those granted a special exemption can now pass through checkpoints along the border.

The new restriction came into effect at midnight on Wednesday, hours before the SA Government announced strict new requirements for local residents returning home.

All residents returning will now be required to take a coronavirus test within 24 hours of their arrival, and another 12 days later.

Victorian residents attempting to cross will be turned away, unless they are essential travellers and abide by strict conditions.

ADF personnel mobilised to south-east

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens on Friday reinforced the strict conditions, with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to join patrols this weekend.

“There will be continuing increased activity on their part so that they can join South Australian police on the borders.

“We’ll be working to make sure that we build that capacity as we get additional resources down there.”

Two police officers stand in front of a vehicle on a dirt road
The police presence has been boosted along the SA-Victoria border.(ABC News: Samantha Dawes)

Commissioner Stevens said there would now be three levels of control at access routes into the state.

“The first level will have dedicated police officers on those high-volume areas, secondary roads into South Australia will be staffed in a team effort with ADF and police officers.

“Then we’ll have a third tier where we’re actually blocking roads and installing surveillance and using other techniques to identify people who might try and breach those roadblocks.”

He said essential travellers would be required to wear face masks, while those with exemptions would be provided with them at the border.



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High hopes for today’s long-awaited border reopening


BUSINESS owners across the region are waiting in anticipation for today’s border reopening in the hope that the strong numbers enjoyed over the past few weeks will continue to be held up by New South Wales travellers.

The Queensland state border will reopen at noon today for the first time in more than three months.

The border will remain closed to Victorians as cases of coronavirus in the state continue to rise.

The long-awaited Queensland border reopening has been slated to bring some much-needed numbers to the area with business owners and leaders hoping it will add to the momentum built up during the Queensland school holidays.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort owner operator Greg McKinnon said the Queensland school holidays had provided a “fantastic” boost in numbers at the park.

“We’ve been at 100 per cent (capacity) most of the time, which is sensational when come three weeks ago we were looking at somewhere around 70 (per cent),” he said.

“We’ve found with New South Wales opening we’ve got something around a 13 per cent increase in inquiries and bookings so that’s certainly had an impact, and that’s on top of an already busy Queensland time.”

However, Mr McKinnon said he was “nervous” about the coming weeks with school holidays set to end on Monday for Queenslanders and the following week for New South Wales students.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort owner operator Greg McKinnon said the region would rely on New South Wales travellers to keep numbers up in the park.

The Victorian market has typically been the biggest source of visitation during the winter period for the BIG4 resort.

Mr McKinnon said with Victorians still locked out of Queensland, the park would now be reliant on New South Wales and intrastate travellers to help maintain numbers.

“We’re certainly suffering because Victoria are still going through their issues massively, and South Australians as well, that’s also a major issue because South Australians have to go through Victoria to get here,” he said.

“At the moment (capacity is) somewhere in that 50 per cent but going back to weeks ago it would have been around 20 to 30 per cent.

“It’s got to go to September school holidays, so we’re hoping (New South Wales visitors) keep carrying us through.”

Owner of Fish D’Vine Kevin Collins said he had also seen a busy few in Airlie Beach, which had given the town a taste of what could come.

Mr Collins was “cautiously optimistic” about the border reopening, saying it would take support from New South Wales and Queensland to keep numbers up.

Fish D'vine owner Kevin Collins said the town was “cautiously optimistic” about the border reopening. Picture: Deborah Friend

Fish D’vine owner Kevin Collins said the town was “cautiously optimistic” about the border reopening. Picture: Deborah Friend

Fish D’Vine reopened in its new location on Airlie Esplanade less than two weeks ago.

However, Mr Collins said the reopening conbined with eased restrictions had provided a welcome start to business.

“We had a better week this year with restricted numbers than in the same week last year,” he said.

“Part of that is because we’re brand new and people want to try it, but there’s absolutely no doubt town had a very busy weekend.

“I think the mood in town generally is cautiously optimistic.

“We’re a bit worried that if Victoria goes bad and takes New South Wales with it that will cause havoc, but we’re cautiously optimistic.

“The flights are coming in close to full (and) the regional drive market is incredibly strong. Whether it has any underlying length to it, whether it’s just a flash in the pan or people are a bit stir crazy and want to come to Airlie Beach at the weekend I don’t know, but bookings are strong.”

A snapshot of sales statistics from Tourism Whitsundays supported Mr Collins’ observations from town and showed that across four campaigns there had been more than 1500 bookings.

The Mates Rates campaign brought in $148,196 while the campaign targeted at frontline workers had seen more than $90,000 in sales.

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Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said these campaigns were just the beginning of things to come.

“Since the easing of restrictions in June, Tourism Whitsundays has launched a number of campaigns aimed at driving visitation from all over Queensland,” she said.

“So far, we’ve generated over $300,000 in bookings based on figures received to date from 30 of the 70 operators involved from our Escape Winter, Mates Rates and Frontline Workers campaigns. We are looking to roll out further campaigns as borders reopen.

“The Whitsundays has some of the most spectacular scenery on the Queensland coast. With incredible deals on offer through our Mates Rates or Escape Winter campaigns, travellers are obviously feeling compelled to book and take advantage of a holiday in paradise this winter.”

Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce president Allan Milostic said it was a shame the border reopening would not include Victoria but that it was understandable given the current circumstances.

Mr Milostic hoped the opening today would help businesses continue to get back on their feet as Queensland students go back to school.

“What it means for businesses in Airlie is that the surge with school holidays will be partially maintained,” he said.





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Queensland Border Declaration Pass: Permit for recreational travel


Travellers planning to enter Queensland tomorrow currently have no way of getting a border pass.

Travellers planning to enter Queensland tomorrow currently have no way of getting a border pass.

Queensland will welcome back interstate travellers from midday tomorrow, but the border pass needed isn’t available yet.

Thousands of Australians from everywhere except Victoria are expected to make their way over the Queensland border from midday tomorrow (Friday, July 10), when the state reopens to visitors for the first time since shutting its borders in late March.

But if you’re thinking of visiting the Sunshine State, not only should you expect long delays upon entering, you’ll also need a permit.

But there’s a problem.

The Queensland Border Declaration Pass online portal on the Queensland Government website still hasn’t been updated to enable recreational travellers to access the form they need to complete to be issued the pass. There is currently no box to tick in the list of options to indicate you will be visiting for tourism.

Queensland Border Declaration Pass form.

Queensland Border Declaration Pass form.

Queensland Border Declaration Pass form.

Queensland Border Declaration Pass form.

This means recreational travellers planning to enter Queensland tomorrow currently have no way of getting the pass.

When Escape rang the Queensland Government’s help line, a representative confirmed the website needed to be updated, and that it would be up and running “soon”.

See also: A state by state guide to travel restrictions and border closures





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Melbourne residents join exodus into South Australia before hard border closure


Hundreds of travellers have made a last-minute dash from Victoria into South Australia before a hard border closure came into effect overnight, including Melbourne residents seeking to escape their city’s coronavirus lockdown.

A line of about 150 cars was queued at the Bordertown checkpoint in SA’s South East late yesterday, with incoming travellers expressing mixed feelings, including confusion and relief.

“We live in Melbourne now, but we’d like to get back to South Australia so we can avoid the lockdown and feel a bit safer about where we are,” one traveller said as she waited at the checkpoint with her family.

“We’ve got a full car of everything — we’ve left the dog behind sadly, but the rest of us have come back.”

Another South Australian local who had been in Victoria told the ABC she “just thought ‘we’ve got to get out of here’, so we literally just got in the car, packed up and came home”.

SA Police officers speak with drivers at a Bordertown checkpoint.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

SA Police announced the imminent closure of the border with Victoria earlier this week, with the SA Government citing the eastern state’s “clear threat” to public health.

The new restriction came into effect at midnight.

Only residents returning to South Australia or those granted a special exemption will now be allowed to pass through checkpoints along the border.

Anyone returning will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days, while Victorian residents attempting to cross will be turned away, unless they are essential travellers and abide by strict conditions.

Cars lined up on a road
Cars lined up at a border checkpoint at Bordertown.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

While many travellers at the border were relieved to be heading home, others said they were confused by the pre-approval process that delayed their border crossings.

“We didn’t really anticipate it was going to take so long to get through the line,” South Australian resident Christina Rugari said.

“[We had] to go all the way back through the queue and come through again.”

A police officer speaks to a man sitting in the front seat of a ute parked on a dirt road
An SA Police officer speaks to a driver passing through a checkpoint in Renmark.(ABC News: Samantha Dawes)

More than 23,000 people living in Victorian border towns have applied for exemptions allowing them to enter South Australia, with a major backlog in processing the applications.

People living in those locations will only be allowed to travel 50 kilometres into South Australia, SA Police has confirmed.

Commissioner Grant Stevens yesterday said the limit was necessary to allow for locals to continue with their daily routines at the same time as keeping communities safe.

“That will enable them to undertake those services or functions that they require as part of their daily lives, but will prevent them from travelling too far into South Australia and provide us with greater security in relation to their movements,” he said.

Police have previously said they would consider calling in the Defence Force to strengthen checkpoints along SA’s eastern border.



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Quickest route to travel over the Qld border


Planning to pass the queue-plagued Tweed-Coolangatta border when it reopens on Friday to everyone except Victorians? Unfortunately there isn’t one better route than any other.

On Tuesday I timed how long it took to cross all three borders near Coolangatta during mid-afternoon and heading into peak traffic times.

Each trip was waved through by police as I had the new Queensland Border Declaration Pass – the one with the letter G – on my dash.

The first trip along the Gold Coast highway saw traffic banked up straight after exiting the Tweed/ Coolangatta M1 southbound exit at 3.20pm.

It took 20 minutes to travel 1.5km.

 

Passing the border on the Gold Coast highway at Tugun. Photo: Lachlan Doepel

The second trip was through Coolangatta, near the Queensland-NSW border statue, at 3.55pm. It was gridlock from Tweed Heads Bowls Club to the border.

It took 25 minutes to go 800m.

Congestion at lights near Tweed Mall and Twin Towns made it problematic.

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Cars were trying to turn into lanes already blocked by people going straight ahead, with four cars pushing to get into two lanes.

The third trip was across the border via the M1. I thought it would be the worst as earlier – on Saturday and Sunday morning – I’d headed down south over the border and witnessed shocking traffic.

I dodged it on return by swiftly passing via Coolangatta, which on Tuesday was by far the worst route.

Four cars try to merge into two lanes near the border crossing at Coolangatta. Photo: Lachlan Doepel

Four cars try to merge into two lanes near the border crossing at Coolangatta. Photo: Lachlan Doepel

 

Motorists were banked back past Gold Coast Airport in the northbound lanes.

It took slightly over 12 minutes to travel 2.1km at 5pm. And it didn’t seem like I went through at the worst time. A woman driving from Brunswick in Northern NSW to work several times a week says she had been “trying to avoid” the M1.

“On the M1 it usually takes half an hour to get through but I’ve had friends say it has taken 45-minutes to an hour sometimes during peak time,” she said.

PREMIER: ‘NO APOLOGY’ FOR BORDER DELAYS

“If you go off the highway to the (Gold Coast highway) at Tugun, it can sometimes be a bit quicker but it just depends on time of the day.”

Another woman said a typical 11-minute trip from Tweed to Currumbin Waters took her 55-minutes, going at a crawl on Monday.

It will be interesting to see how travel times compare from Friday – when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned there will still be “long delays” – but no “chaos and confusion” around the pass requirements.

The border crossing at the Gold Coast Airport. Photo Scott Powick Newscorp

The border crossing at the Gold Coast Airport. Photo Scott Powick Newscorp

 

DUMMY’S GUIDE TO NEW BORDER DECLARATION PASS

• Passes introduced last Friday only last seven days and need to be filled out and printed again. A new recreational pass will be added this Friday.

• It will be the fourth change to the system since the border closed in March.

• If you are travelling over it is advised to allow extra travel time, but there are some things you can do to speed up the wait such as have your new “G” Qld border declaration pass printed and on your dash.

• Failure to comply with quarantine directions and border restrictions can mean fines of $1334 for individuals and $6672 for corporations.

• Providing false information on the declaration or entering Queensland unlawfully could result in a $4003 fine.

• The Queensland Entry Declaration is at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass and valid for seven days.

• To be eligible for a Queensland Border Declaration Pass you need to

– visit www.qld.gov.au/border-pass.

– select one of the 24 categories.

– select if in the past 14 days you’ve been: overseas, been to a COVID hotspot or been in contact with someone with COVID or had COVID or symptoms.

– if eligible, it will prompt you to fill out your details from name, address, and contact details.

– within minutes the pass will be sent to your email address and is ready to be printed and put on the dashboard of your vehicle.

– the pass lasts seven days from the date you applied. The current rules are you will need to reapply for another one within the next seven days but it may be changed again during the border opening on Friday.

Originally published as Quickest route to travel over the Qld border





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Victoria-NSW border community residents’ five-minute commute turns into 80-minute detour


Farmers and business owners in south-west New South Wales are furious traffic is being diverted away from a Murray River crossing, forcing employees who live in Victoria to take lengthy detours to get to work.

NSW Police are diverting traffic away from smaller bridges to major crossings, such as the George Chaffey Bridge at Buronga and the Swan Hill bridge, to concentrate their resources as the hard border with Victoria takes effect.

Citrus producer Leon Caccaviello said he found out the Tooleybuc bridge, part of the Mallee Highway, was going to close by email just after 6:00pm on Tuesday night.

While he said police at the border were “being very good” and allowing locals to leave NSW across the bridge on the first day of the hard border, the closure has caused headaches for those who lived on the other side.

“Technically, with my staff who are in Victoria, it would [normally] be a five-minute trip over the river. Some of those guys are driving into Swan Hill, over to Murray Downs and then back out to Tooleybuc which is about an hour and 20-minute trip,” Mr Caccaviello said.

A woman in a blue shirt holding a hat standing in front of some sheep.
Member for Murray, Helen Dalton, says communities are worried about not being able to use their bridges.(Supplied:)

MP fields complaints

The Abbotsford Bridge at Yelta, near Wentworth, is only accessible to emergency vehicles, as are bridges at Nyah, Gonn and Barmah.

Helen Dalton, State Member for Murray, said residents of those small towns were “understandably upset about what’s happened”.

“[There are lots of concerns from] constituents with women having babies and kids that need to access health services, such as those who suffer from epilepsy, cancer patients … people are very, very worried,” she said.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the border operation was constantly being assessed “with a view to being flexible with our resources on the ground”.

“This includes consideration being given to the location of vehicle checkpoints and hard closures as the operation progresses.”

Mr Caccaviello said he understood the need for police to manage resources, he said “there’s got to be a little bit of understanding” about the needs of cross-border industries.

“With load restrictions that are on the Swan Hill bridge, [heavy vehicles] either have to go all the way to Barham or over to Robinvale-Euston, so I don’t know who in their right mind said to shut Tooleybuc down when there is such a huge distance between those bridges.”



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Additional Border Restrictions – Tasmanian Times


Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 8 July 2020

Additional border restrictions

Our number one priority as we navigate our way through coronavirus has been the health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians.

Right now across the Bass Strait our fellow Australians, and for many of us, our family and friends, are facing challenges. My thoughts and best wishes for their health and safety are with them.

On Friday this week I will be providing an update on our borders and interstate travel, however, I can confirm today, due to the escalating situation in Victoria, we will not be opening our borders to Victoria on 24 July.

We will also put in place additional restrictions on Victorian travellers, and Tasmanians returning from Victoria. It gives me no pleasure to do this, but the only way to manage the virus is to respond swiftly and appropriately.

From midnight tonight the following takes effect:

  • Victorians and anyone that is not a Tasmanian resident who has spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel is not permitted to travel to Tasmania and will be turned back at their own expense in the event that they arrive in Tasmania. This applies unless they have pre-approval for travel as an essential traveller or for compassionate reasons.
  • This includes anyone transiting through Tullamarine Airport to Tasmania that leaves the airport, as they will be treated as having spent time in Victoria and will be turned back in the event that they arrive here.
  • Tasmanian residents who have spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel are able to return home to Tasmania but will be required to quarantine in a Government hotel for 14 days. This also includes fly in, fly out workers who have spent time in Victoria.
  • Tasmanians traveling from other jurisdictions who have transited through Tullamarine Airport and have not left that facility will be quarantined at home for 14 days and this will continue up until 24 July, subject to our border rules being reviewed.
    Any other travellers, including Tasmanians who leave Tullamarine Airport while in transit, will be quarantined in Government hotels for 14 days.
  • TT Line passengers will be managed under the same rules.
  • Biosecurity officers will be present at Tasmania’s airports and seaports and a biosecurity officer will also be present at Tullamarine airport to provide advice and guidance.
  • Businesses and organisations seeking essential workers from Victoria will need to demonstrate that the expertise cannot be recruited from any other state in the country first before an exemption is considered.
  • While Victorians can apply for a compassionate exemption to travel to Tasmania, these exemptions are unlikely to be granted in the short term due to the rapidly changing circumstances in Victoria.

We know that this pandemic is far from over, and we will continue to make decisions based on public health advice to keep people safe from a second wave, to protect our community, to protect our businesses and to protect our way of life.

I urge all Tasmanians to please keep following the rules. Observe the restrictions in place, maintain excellent hygiene practices, get tested even if you have mild symptoms and continue to keep each other safe.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent=”no” parentcategory=”writers” show = “category” hyperlink=”yes”]



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Locals stopped in their tracks by NSW-Victoria border closure


When the permit web site crashed soon just after launching, border town citizens experienced no plan how they could get to work, school or health care.

(Impression: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Residents from border cities throughout New South Wales and Victoria sense they have been saved in the darkish about accessing permits needed to function, examine and acquire medical treatment.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday the border would near at midnight Tuesday — for the to start with time since the Spanish flu epidemic in 1919 — as the state battles its surge of COVID-19 instances.

With far more than 50 land crossings amongst NSW and Victoria, closing the border is a mammoth logistical problem that will be enforced by hundreds of police.





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