Everything you need to know about the border changes
The familiar sight of concrete bollards and police at border checkpoints have returned this morning as lines of traffic stretch across the Tweed.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced yesterday border checkpoints would be reinstated and the sunshine state would be closed to travellers from Greater Sydney's hotspot area.
The closures are identical to those introduced when the border was first shut in March.
Anyone entering Queensland by road or air from New South Wales, including Queensland residents, now need to complete a border declaration pass online before travelling.
Those who have travelled from a declared NSW hotspot on or since Friday, December 11 need to get a COVID-19 test and immediately self-isolate.
Most major Queensland border checkpoints have been reinstated across the Gold Coast and Tweed early this morning with roadblocks such as Ducat St in Coolangatta only beginning instalment about midday.
This comes as 57 vehicles containing 115 people were turned back at the border on Monday night and a Sydney woman was fined for trying to sneak into Queensland.
The shock decision, just days before Christmas, has been labelled as "shooting from the hip" by Tweed MP Geoff Provest who criticised the first 24 hours of the border changes as filled with "loopholes".
Queensland announced it would shut its borders with only 10 hours notice to the Greater Sydney area on Sunday, those wanting to enter the state needed to do so before 1am on Monday.
Returning Queenslanders from the hotspot areas had until 1am on Tuesday to do the same before quarantining and getting a COVID test.
However, up until this morning, the only physical police road blocks were located on the Pacific Mwy and Gold Coast Hwy.
Mr Provest said this meant those wanting to beat the system could have exited and gone into Queensland through the local streets of Tweed and Coolangatta for about 24 hours.
Queensland police were contacted for comment about their management plan regarding the loophole yesterday but did not respond to direct questions, although marked police cars were seen parked on backstreets of Coolangatta yesterday afternoon.
Mr Provest said the border closure seemed like "a bit of an over-reaction" especially when considering the Northern Rivers hadn't had a case since April.
He said unlike the Gold Coast as of the last check the area did not have traces of COVID-19 in their sewerage.
Mr Provest confirmed he had approached the Queensland Premier about concerns from the health workers unions about reinstating checkpoints only for essential workers but was yet to hear back.
To add to troubles, many residents living on the Queensland side of the border in areas including the Currumbin and Numinbah valleys and Natural Bridge cross the border daily to shop and use services such as the Murwillumbah Hospital.
But the hard closure of Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd at Natural Bridge and Tomewin Mountain Rd in the Currumbin Valley have cut off their access to NSW.
Police are asking motorists to print their border declaration passes and display it on their windscreen to ensure priority and timely access through the road borders.
If you do not have access to a printer, please ensure you have the border pass easily accessible on your smart device.
Motorists can expect police-controlled vehicle checkpoints at three locations across the Gold Coast:
- Gold Coast Highway and Coolangatta Road
- M1 Northbound near Stewarts Road
- Griffith Street and Stuart Street, Coolangatta
Hard border closures will be in place in the below locations. Motorists and residents can expect high visibility checks and patrols at these locations.
- Boundary Street and Clarke Street
- Dixon Street and Bay Street
- Miles Street
- Leeward Terrace and Tooloon Street
- Kent Street near Murraba Crescent
- Tomewin Mountain Road, Currumbin Valley
- Dixon & Florence
- Nerang Murwillumbah Road, Natural Bridge
Delays are expected at the road border checkpoints as people adopt to the new border restrictions.
Travellers are asked to plan accordingly and to remain patient.
Providing false information on the declaration or entering Queensland unlawfully could result in a $4,003 fine.
The Queensland Entry Declaration can be accessed at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass and is valid for fourteen days.