‘It’s a debacle’: Warnings of chaos on the New South Wales border with Queensland as workers face TWO HOUR queues to cross – amid concerns there is no way to keep Victorians out
- Commuters are expected to face chaos on the border with queues of two hours
- Queensland is reopening its borders to all states and territories except Victoria
- Senior police are worried they will not be able to conduct checks quick enough
- Traffic is expected to be backed up on NSW/Queensland border for two hours
Commuters will face chaos on the border of New South Wales and Queensland with drivers sitting in two-hour-long queues as police conduct checks, sources claimed.
Queensland is officially reopening the border to all states and territories except Victoria on July 10 after the state shut down on March 26.
Senior police on Wednesday were forced into emergency meetings to figure out how to introduce the changes on a ground level.
Commuting times between the border and Brisbane are expected to be sent into chaos with drivers waiting in queues for up to two hours as they are forced to produce paperwork.
In the most extreme circumstances, one police source even remarked that traffic could be backed up from the border to more than 600km away in Newcastle, the Courier Mail reported.
Commuters will face chaos on the border of New South Wales and Queensland with extreme two hour queues as police conduct checks (checkpoint on the border on Wednesday pictured)
A police officer directs a car for further inspection at a check point on the Queensland-New South Wales border in Coolangatta (pictured on Wednesday)
‘Police have no idea how they are going to do this. It’s a response from a bureaucrat. It’s just a debacle,’ the source said.
‘Police are saying we can stop each car. But the traffic will be from the border to Newcastle.’
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said anyone entering the state will be asked to declare they have not been in Victoria in the past two weeks.
Anyone entering the state will be asked to produce paperwork showing they have not been in Victoria for 14 days, risking a $4,000 fine if caught lying.
But the police source claims it will be near impossible to stop Victorians from entering the state.
‘They have to complete a form which says they haven’t been in Victoria in the past two weeks. The virus manifests itself in three to four weeks. Police are asking how is two weeks going to solve anything,’ the source said.
Queensland is officially reopening the border to all states and territories except Victoria on July 10 after the state went into lockdown on March 26 (a border checkpoint pictured on Wednesday)
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured on Tuesday) said anyone entering the state will be asked to declare they have not been in Victoria in the past two weeks
A police officer inspects a car at a check point on the Queensland-New South Wales border (pictured on Wednesday)
The source said police are being abused at the border and there are fears it will only get worse.
The Queensland Police Service said it is currently work-shopping how to facilitate changes to the state border restrictions.
Police are planning to implement new processes at border checkpoints to make it more seamless and the proposed changes will be made available soon.
It means that Australians can finally visit Queensland tourist hotspots including Cairns and the Gold coast, giving hope to ailing tourism businesses.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents welcomed the decision.
CEO Darren Rudd told Daily Mail Australia: ‘This is a step in the right direction which strikes the right balance between the necessary caution and getting the economy restarted.’
Senior police on Wednesday were forced into emergency meetings to determine how to introduce changes on a ground level (police checking a car on Wednesday)
Traffic is seen on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales near the Queensland Border
Queensland’s tourism industry is ready to welcome interstate travellers as they start flowing into the Sunshine State in less than two weeks when the border reopens.
Relief is how Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind has described the news the border will open from July 10.
He says hotels and tourism operators have tight COVID-safe plans in place, and tourists should feel safe staying and playing in the Sunshine State.
‘We are relieved and it’s an outcome that we had hoped for,’ Mr Gschwind told AAP.
‘The industry has worked hard on hygiene and cleanliness plans that not only satisfy the chief health officer but should give confidence to customers who have that at the top of their concerns.’
The decision brought a broad smile to the face of Visit Sunshine Coast chair David Ryan.
Motorists are stopped at a checkpoint on the Gold Coast Highway at Coolangatta on the Queensland/NSW border border in March
Queensland will stop Victorians entering the state while letting all other Australians in from July 10 (pictured, the border near the Gold Coast)
He said Sunshine Coast tourism has been through one of the worst periods in recent decades and even with tourists flowing in, it will be a slow recovery.
‘The decision to open the border with NSW will be a massive fillip for the local industry because the situation was looking rather grim for many operators after the school holidays,’ Mr Ryan said in a statement.
The Queensland government also announced that it is moving to stage three of coronavirus restrictions from Friday as it relaxes rules.
The cap on numbers in venues is removed and replaced with social distancing and casinos have been allowed to open.
Border control signage is seen as motorists approach the Queensland – New South Wales border
But Queensland will continue to live under some form of restrictions on their daily lives until a vaccine is found.
Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Wednesday industries would not simply bounce back to the way they operated before the global health crisis.
‘It’s never going to be exactly the same, so we are in this post-COVID world,’ she said.
‘Until there is a vaccine we have to keep up with the social distancing, we never know when there could be a new case.
‘We have contact tracing in place ready to go and as we’ve seen it can emerge very quickly, like it has in Victoria.’