Gold Coast and Tweed bracing for nightmare traffic once border reopens

The community of Coolangatta and Tweed will again bear the brunt of another change to Queensland’s border conditions.

From Monday, Queensland’s border will again ‘reopen’ to fully vaccinated people from interstate hotspots, provided they get tested before coming over the border and then get tested again on day five.

Related article: Qld to reopen border early, border bubble to be in place

While residents within the border bubble won’t be required to get tested in order to cross over, they are already being warned of horror traffic conditions.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest is also urging locals to reconsider travelling in the first couple of days.

“The downside with anything, we’re anticipating fairly severe traffic congestion at our border checkpoints,” Mr Provest told myGC.

“One modelling I’ve seen it actually stems back down to Byron Bay.

“I’ve been assured by our NSW police they’ve been dealing with their Queensland counterparts in trying to minimise that.

“But really it’s good news – not ideal, but at least we can have some normality,” he said.

Queensland Police will continue stopping cars at the checkpoints to ensure everyone coming across is fully vaccinated, a measure that will stay in place until Queensland hits 90 percent double vaccination rate.

“I think with a high vaccination rate here in Tweed, we’re just about to hit 90 per cent, where Qld is at about 75 per cent double dose and as I said we haven’t had a community outbreak.

“So I think it’s a bit of an overkill at the moment. I really do.

“I know there’s concern about the new variant out there but we haven’t had community transmission here.

“We’re dependent, our front door is Queensland, our back door is New South Wales, many people work on both sides of the border and the heartbreak I’ve seen with families separated and businesses on the border – they’re doing it really tough and some of them won’t survive,” Mr Provest said.

Currumbin MP Laura Gerber agrees that the relief of the border finally opening quickly turned to panic about local traffic.

She’s suggesting a ‘local’s lane’ for the border community of Coolangatta and Tweed to alleviate pressure.

“We know that that happened with the truckies, the truckies got their own lane and their own checkpoint and that was operationalised but they could do that in reverse for border locals,” Ms Gerber told I

While Ms Gerber believes this is a sensible solution, she’s already sceptical about the state government even considering it.

“Oh look, if we get it, great, but honestly, they’ve (the state government) had enough time to get this sorted.

“But if it takes all the chaos and confusion in order for them to do something about then we’ll take whatever we can get on the border,” she said.

Queensland Police have acknowledged that it will once again be a difficult time for the border community.

Commissioner Katarina Carrol has told The Today Show that the traffic should subside after the first few days.

“We expect the delays to reduce dramatically.

“Those people know their areas very, very well and where to access probably better than the general public.

“But I think that is a great concession for that area. It really is one city whether you’re in northern New South Wales or southern Queensland, that bubble is one city.

“They’ve been used to this, they’ve cooperated and been exceptionally compliant.

“All they need now is to have a border pass and they can move freely around that area,” Commissioner Carrol told The Today Show. 

Related article: Qld to reopen border early, border bubble to be in place

Tweed desperate for answers as Qld border reopening looms

With just weeks left until Queensland reopens its border, the Tweed community is begging for answers on how the new rules will work for them.

By December 17, fully vaccinated people will be able to cross into the Sunshine State, provided they can provide proof of their vaccination.

They also need to have tested negative for coronavirus within 72 hours prior to crossing the border.

This rule poses a massive problem for members of the Tweed community, who have to cross the border every day for work or school in Queensland.

The Queensland state government has said they will look at the matter more closely, with hopes that a travel bubble might be reinstated for those border straddling communities.

However, with the border reopening set to happen within the next two weeks, a local Tweed Councillor says the community wants answers now.

“The best Christmas present that the Tweed Shire community could possibly receive is the re-instatement of the border bubble, like the one we had last year,” Councillor Owen said.

“The QLD Government has indicated that it will relax restrictions on 17 December, or when QLD reached their 80% double dose vaccination target – whichever comes first.

“However, there will still be significant limitations on our ability to function as an interconnected community with the over-the-top proposed testing requirements for non-essential travel.

“Visiting family and friends, participating in community sport, attending weddings and funerals, and enjoying leisure and entertainment activities, still won’t be possible without having to have a COVID test- and that’s just not ok!

“We also need the QLD Government to implement a better system to minimise the anticipated huge queues at the border checkpoints, and the resulting gridlock on our local streets, come 17 December, or earlier. With checkpoints likely to remain until QLD reaches their 90% double dose vaccination target, how will the QLD Government alleviate the expected congestion and chaos? They must release their plan for this!

“That is why I’m calling on the QLD Government to show some Christmas compassion by releasing a plan for our border communities to alleviate the undue stress we are currently experiencing.

“And this plan must include the re-instatement of the border bubble until border checkpoints come down!

 

 

Tweed Heads local wins $100K on scratchies ticket!

A Tweed Heads man says he won’t truly believe his luck until $100,000 arrives in his bank account.

He’s spent hours checking and rechecking his Instant Scratch-Its ticket, which landed him the top prize over the weekend.

The $5 ticket was purchased at IGA Tweed Heads.

He says the money will do wonders for him!

“I really love the Instant Scratch-Its Crosswords tickets. I play them quite regularly. They’re my favourite,” he told The Lott.

“When I first scratched the winning ticket, I couldn’t believe it. I sat there, staring at the ticket for hours, checking it repeatedly.

“I didn’t want to tell anyone until I knew for sure. But I couldn’t keep it from my wife. I was too excited!

“When I told her the news, she was very overwhelmed.

“She kept telling me that it was a novelty ticket or some kind of scam. She couldn’t believe it and I really couldn’t believe it either.

“After it was confirmed, I felt relief more than anything. I was quite nervous waiting to see if I really had won the top prize.

“A win like this completely changes your life! This will do wonders.

“It’s a really special win, especially because it’s right before Christmas. It’s magnificent!

“We are really pleased. We are going to go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate this weekend,” the man said.

Court

Qld man to front Tweed court on historical sexual abuse charges

A Queensland man will appear in a Tweed court today, to face multiple charges of historical sexual assault against three young girls.

The 67-year-old is accused of sexually assaulting three girls on several occasions between 1995 and 2004 at locations including Doon Doon, Baryugil and Tenterfield.

The girls were aged eight, 11 and 13 at the time.

NSW Police began an investigation in November last year, after receiving information from Victoria Police.

Following extensive inquiries, officers obtained an arrest warrant for the man, who was then arrested at a home in Waterford West back in September.

He was extradited to Tweed back on September 13 and refused bail.

He’s set to reappear at Tweed court today on multiple charges, including outstanding arrest warrants and 12 offences including four counts of sexual intercourse with person under the age of 10 years, six counts of aggravated indecent assault (victim under authority of offender), aggravated sex assault (victim under authority of offender) and take and drive conveyance without consent of owner.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

NSW Police

Drugs and weapons offences for 25yo man intercepted in Tweed

A man’s been charged with multiple drug and weapons offences after he was allegedly busted with a taser disguised as a torch in Tweed Heads this week.

The 25-year-old was pulled over in a white Holden Commodore after he allegedly crossed the median strip on Wharf Street around midday on Wednesday, November 3.

Officers then searched the vehicle, allegedly uncovering MDMA, Cocaine, Cannabis, over $3,100 in cash and an electronic stun device disguised as a torch.

The man was arrested and taken to the Tweed Heads Police Station.

He’s since been charged with supplying a prohibited drug, possessing or using a prohibited weapon without a permit, two counts of possessing a prohibited drug and recklessly dealing with the proceeds of a crime.

The man was granted conditional bail and will appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on 29 November 2021.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.