Breakthrough on border misery with new ‘checkpoint’
POLICE will ease restrictions at the Queensland-NSW border in the Gold Coast Hinterland by adding a checkpoint to make lives easier for rural-based families and farmers.
Commuters will be able to cross the border at Nerang Murwillumbah Road, near Natural Bridge, from Friday between 7am and 7pm seven days a week.
Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler, who made the decision, said it was enough time to cater for families on school runs and people within primary industry.
"People will need a border entry pass, as they currently do (for other checkpoints) but we would prefer that this crossing is used by local people who are conducting their local daily activities," Supt Wheeler said.
"I've been reviewing all of the border crossings since we started and we've spoken to a number of members of the community out there. We understand the inconveniences that have been placed on them and we do thank them for their patience and their co-operation."
The border had been closed since the end of March as part of the coronavirus restrictions.
Supt Wheeler said the changes weren't in response to recent complaints but rather, he had been able to assess what could be done to make the lives of residents easier.
"It's something we've been looking at for some time. We do have to consider operational sustainability because the border restriction process, we believe, will be in place for sometime.
"We've now been able to relocate some resources in a manner that's not going to affect our operational capability and make life easier on the people who live in that area.
"Whatever we do we've got to be able to sustain it."
Supt Wheeler said the changes would remain long term. He said he had no intention to alter any other border arrangements at this time.
"These border restrictions, we recognise that they are inconveniences, however they are there to keep the community safe, to bring effect to the Chief Health Officer's directives and stop the spread of COVID-19 into Queensland," he said.
Last week, furious hinterland residents staged a protest at the Queensland-NSW border and called for a "checkpoint" to make their lives easier.
Rural-based families had expressed concerns about the border closure affecting school drop-offs and pick-up, while farmers also said it had caused disruption to their business.
Originally published as Breakthrough on border misery