Locals exempt from Queensland border closure

The Old Border Bridge will close with the only access point the border bridge on the eastern end of Goondiwindi from midnight on Wednesday. Photo: Goondiwindi Regional Council
The Old Border Bridge will close with the only access point the border bridge on the eastern end of Goondiwindi from midnight on Wednesday. Photo: Goondiwindi Regional Council

Border communities who cross the Queensland border to shop, work or attend medical appointments will be exempt from Wednesday night's closures, according to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Queensland government will close the borders to the Sunshine State for the first time in more than a century in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The measures will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday and will include:

  • Border road closures and police checks on vehicles on major highways
  • Advice to aircraft passengers at departure point that travellers to Queensland will be required to self-isolate for 14 days
  • Travellers arriving at Queensland airports to be met by police and other officers
  • Termination of rail services

However, the Premier said these measures aren't directed at border communities who cross to shop or work, attend medical appointments and return to their homes.

"They're designed to stop holidaymakers leaving southern states and risking the spread of this virus through Queensland," she said.

Exemptions to the Queensland border closure include freight, emergency vehicles and workers, those travelling to and from work, court orders including family court, compassionate grounds and medical treatment.

Anyone travelling to Queensland, not usually resident in Queensland, for any other reason will have to agree to self-isolate for 14 days sick or not.

Penalties for failing to comply include fines of up to $13,345.

Meanwhile Goondiwindi mayor Graeme Scheu said it will mostly be business as usual for locals.

"A simple rule of thumb is that we can all go about what our normal daily business is. The real impact is on interstate travellers," he said.

However, he urged those working in NSW and living in Queensland to get a letter from their employers

He said those who normally shop in Goondiwindi but live in NSW, such as Boggabilla, will be allowed across the border.

"But I urge them to minimise their number of shopping visits to ease congestion at the bridge, which will be patrolled by police," Cr Scheu said.

He said the Old Border Bridge will close with the only access point the border bridge on the eastern end of town.

Queensland's disaster coordinator, police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski, said work was under way to provide a permit or a dashboard sticker to allow exempt people to move across.

"It has to be ready for Wednesday night, obviously. So, we are working through that at the moment," he said.

"You will see police officers and other officials, government officials, out on the road as of one minute past midnight making sure that these measures work."