A Queensland Police officer displays the correct border pass to drivers stopped at the QLD / NSW border check point into Queensland on Griffith St Coolangatta. Photo: Scott Powick
A Queensland Police officer displays the correct border pass to drivers stopped at the QLD / NSW border check point into Queensland on Griffith St Coolangatta. Photo: Scott Powick

Tweed's Easter report card for obeying coronavirus measures

IT'S BEEN a mixed bag for the Tweed's Easter holidays as while most have done the right thing, rule flouters were still caught disobeying pandemic safety measures.

Among those adhering to social distancing, having a quick dip or walking in pairs of those they live with, people were still sunbathing on Tweed beaches.

Other punters found ways around Tweed Shire Council's closure of beach car parks by clogging up neighbouring streets and council rangers copped abuse from rule breakers reminded of their responsibilities.

The turnout follows strong campaigns from local police, council and members of parliament in the lead up to the weekend to discourage holidays flocking to the normally thriving tourist area.

Councillor James Owen said it was disappointing to hear rangers had been abused just for doing their job.

He said the decision to close Tweed's beach car parks was a tough call but "one that had to happen to help keep the community safe".

"I accept that these are confronting and stressful times and there are rules and restrictions in place now that we have never seen before but that doesn't excuse poor behaviour," he said.

While he acknowledged seeing a lot of people doing the right thing, Cr Owen said he also witnessed sunbaking and illegal parking at Cudgen Creek while he was out exercising as well as knew of reported instances at Fingal Heads and Casurina Beach.*

"It makes me so sad to think people are so disrespectful to the community and for some reason think the rules don't apply to them," he said.

"Generally things haven't been too bad but there are issues of people not doing the right thing and I think it need to be highlighted."

Federal member for Richmond Justine Elliott said she was still being inundated with calls from locals to close the NSW border but most of the feedback about misconduct over the Easter weekend had come from the Byron region.

In the past fortnight, Tweed Shire Council voted for mayor Katie Milne to write to the NSW Premier and Tweed MP Geoff Provest to petition for a NSW border closure.

Mr Provest congratulated the community for a job well done as the word from senior police officers was the roads were quiet and most people were abiding by coronavirus safety measures this weekend.

He said police had issued fines to people from NSW who were caught "coming from out of area to our area" and as of Monday most Queensland plated cars that had been pulled over belonged to Tweed residents or essential workers.

"Overall the appeal appears to be working," Mr Provest said.

The weekend also heralded tighter restrictions on the existing Queensland border controls in order to help reduce COVID-19 spread.

As of Saturday, all Queenslanders returning home from interstate are now required to have a new Queensland Entry Pass.

Entrants will also be questioned about their movements and required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they've been to known coronavirus hot spots.

The new restrictions follow complaints from Northern NSW councils, including Tweed Shire, about Gold Coast surfers flaunting non-essential travel rules.

Police warn motorists all existing green entry and vehicle passes are void.

New passes will be individually issued and each person entering the state, including children, will require a new application.

Queensland police have also said any exempt resident, including interstate freight transport services, who arrives in Queensland must self-quarantine if they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot area.

At the time of publication, Tweed shire was not considered a hot spot.

All exempt residents must abide by the 14-day quarantine unless their travel was for an essential purpose.

Heavy concrete blocks remain along Gold Coast borders to stop unessential travel as they continue to stay in place for an indefinite time period.

*CORRECTION: The article was originally published with the sentence "While he acknowledged seeing a lot of people doing the right thing, Cr Owen said he also witnessed sunbaking and illegal parking at Cudgen Creek as well as instances at Fingal Heads and Casurina Beach." 

For clarification, Cr Owen was relaying reported information from Fingal Heads and Casurina and witnessed the Cudgen Creek misdemeanours while out exercising.