Since the introduction of tough new border restrictions on Tuesday, police have been forced to turn away more than 30 people trying to enter the sunshine state.
It comes after they were unable to prove they hadn’t been in a NSW or Victorian hotspot in the past 14 days.
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said that as of midday yesterday, five people have been sent packing at Coolangatta Airport while 30 motorists have been turned away at our border checkpoints.
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Motorists planning on heading across the border back into Queensland are being warned traffic chaos is expected to continue for quite some time, with some drivers reporting being stuck in delays of up to two hours.
“It comes after two areas in NSW were declared as coronavirus hot spots, resulting in officers having to pull over every vehicle with a NSW number plate to ensure they haven’t been in those areas in the past 14 days,” Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
It means anyone who has been in the local government areas of Liverpool or Campbelltown in the past two weeks will not be able to enter the sunshine state, along with those from Victoria.
“These delays are very unfortunate but are unavoidable at the moment, we are working as hard as we can to get people through,” Wheeler told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’re currently at the moment reviewing what we are doing at our vehicle checkpoints including our staffing levels and our methods of operation.”
It’s understood one of the changes currently under review is the “appearance of the border declaration passes, to make it easier for intercepting officers to get people through quickly.”
“We’re also reviewing the locations to see if a different staffing model may assist with getting more people through at once,” Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
However he admitted that the one lane method will likely remain in place due to safety concerns.
“These roads were never designed to have vehicle checkpoints in them so we are restricted,” he said.
While the delays are expected to continue for quite some time, police believe there could soon be some relief as people become more familiar with the process.
“Whats important here is that when a hot spot is declared in another state, people don’t have the opportunity immediately to go online and make the declaration that they haven’t been to those areas,’ Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
“So what we will see in the coming days is the public will catch up with the declaration system and we will see things improve, provided that there haven’t been any more hot spots declared.”
To download a new Queensland Border Declaration Pass, click here.