Cops slam claims ambos can’t get through border

 

THE Gold Coast's  top cop has hit back at dishonest locals claiming they are stranded and unsafe due to border blocks at smaller crossings, saying police cannot accommodate every whim.

It comes as Mudgeeraba resident Keith Douglas slammed a hard closure to Numinbah at Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, claiming emergency vehicles could not pass and it was being unmanned by police.

Once-Gold Coast Council candidate Keith Douglas with his bull Rambo. Picture: supplied.
Once-Gold Coast Council candidate Keith Douglas with his bull Rambo. Picture: supplied.

The same closure was in place in March.

Mr Douglas said: "Enough is enough. This is one of many problems affecting Gold Coast farmers.

"This barrier has been lying on the side of the road for weeks so clearly there was anticipation by the government that it may need to be used."

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler talks with police on the NSW and Queensland border as the coronavirus cluster on Sydney's northern beaches causes chaos ahead of Christmas. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Steve Holland.
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler talks with police on the NSW and Queensland border as the coronavirus cluster on Sydney's northern beaches causes chaos ahead of Christmas. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Steve Holland.

He went on to claim emergency service vehicles had been barred from passing into Queensland, and said staff at the checkpoint did not have a key to open the barrier.

Both allegations were rubbished by Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler and Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates.

Chief Supt. Wheeler said the crossing had a "removable gate" to be operated as required.

"The QPS has made arrangements with other emergency services agencies to ensure that access for these vehicles will remain unhindered," he told the Bulletin.

 

 

He said as further resourcing becomes available police would consider establishing a checkpoint again for a limited number of hours.

"But the community does need to understand that the hard closure occurred six hours before these complaints were made," Chief Supt. Wheeler said.

In a strongly-worded response, he added: "It is unhelpful when people make claims that are incorrect or patently untrue to create concerns within the community.

"I would hope during these challenging times people would understand we cannot accommodate every single request to suit a person's individual circumstances in a short period of time."

Police and Council workers yesterday installed large plastic retaining barriers blocking entry into Queensland from NSW through Tweed Heads after QLD closed its borders to Sydney residents due to other major Covid breakout. Photo: Scott Powick.
Police and Council workers yesterday installed large plastic retaining barriers blocking entry into Queensland from NSW through Tweed Heads after QLD closed its borders to Sydney residents due to other major Covid breakout. Photo: Scott Powick.

Ms Bates said she had received a number of concerned phone calls from Numinbah residents but did not think a four to five day wait to have police staffing a checkpoint was "unreasonable".

"The (Numinbah) border closed at 4am (on Tuesday)," she said. "It will take a few days before it's open and manned with police officers, which I don't think is unreasonable.

"It's not just getting two officers. You have three shifts, so it's actually six officers."

She said she had contacted Transport and Main Roads in an effort to get an SMS alert system for Numinbah Valley residents, many of whom struggle with internet connections.

Chief Supt. Wheeler said: "Police had a short timeframe to re-establish hard border restrictions, which was achieved by 6am on Tuesday.

Shadow Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Ros Bates during Estimates Hearings at Parliament House. Picture: Tara Croser.
Shadow Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Ros Bates during Estimates Hearings at Parliament House. Picture: Tara Croser.

"Everyone needs to understand we are in a rapidly changing situation and there will be occasions where long lead-in times are simply not possible."

Earlier on Tuesday, he issued a warning to "selfish" Sydney-siders trying to "game the system" after a 30-year-old woman from Greater Sydney was fined $4,003 for allegedly lying to officers trying to cross the border at the Gold Coast and Pacific Highway checkpoints on Monday.

More than 140 vehicles have now been turned back at the Gold Coast border.

The closures are expected to be reviewed on January 8.

Originally published as Cops slam claims ambos can't get through border


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