SHUTDOWN: The only 3 roads into QLD for months
Only three roads will remain open with police checkpoints in place on the Queensland-NSW border with the rest blocked as the state locks down early tomorrow morning.
Motorists have been warned to expect significant delays from midnight if attempting to cross the Queensland/New South Wales border, with RBT-style police checks.
The M1, Gold Coast Highway and Griffith St will all remain open after Queensland closes its border with NSW to combat the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown could continue for months.
All other roads between the states, including Coolangatta backstreets, will be closed.
The roads closed include Nerang-Murwillumbah Road at Springbrook, Tomewin Mountain Road at Currumbin Valley, Kent Street at Coolangatta, Dixon Street at Coolangatta and Miles Street at Coolangatta.
State Disaster Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski announced today that plans were already in place to scrutinise people attempting to enter Queensland from road, air, sea and rail.
"The clear message is you should not travel across that border unless you absolutely have to."
He said the State Government was working to fast track a website that would allow people to apply for an exemption to the border closure.
In the coming days, stickers would be available to display on the cars of those with a legitimate reason to move between states.
Other people crossing the border would have to prove they are able to effectively self-isolate for 14 days.
Mr Gollschewski said exemption stickers would streamline the process for those who needed to get through.
But he warned the next couple of days would be challenging.
"People can expect very, very long delays," he said, adding every vehicle would be scrutinised.
"My plea is for people to show patience.
"For those people who don't need to travel, don't do it.
"If you can't demonstrate you can go into effective 14 day isolation in Queensland, you will be turned around."
He said people living in border areas had "nothing to fear" but needed to restrict travel across state lines to essential tasks, like taking children to school.
"If you're crossing the border to have coffee, don't do it," he said.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne said all residents needed to be aware of the restrictions, which were likely to have a significant traffic impact on residents and business, particularly those who live near the border.
"Council has been advised this morning there will initially be three access points into Queensland - on the M1, Gold Coast Highway and Griffith St with RBT-style checks carried out," she said.
"All other roads which access Queensland will be closed with roadblocks. These arrangements could change."
The restrictions still allow people to undertake essential travel between their residence and place of work, freight, medical needs, court requirements, for schools and childcare, compassionate grounds, other essential needs, and for those who straddle the border.
According to the Queensland Government advice, travel should be limited or minimised as much as possible. This also applies for people who live in Queensland and work in NSW.
"Council totally supports the call to stay at home for all non-essential travel now," Cr Milne said.
"These are extraordinary times and I support the Queensland Premier's intent to reduce unnecessary movements.
"It would have been better with at least some consultation with council and businesses but we understand that everyone is just doing their very best at this stage, as quickly as they can."
Cr Milnes sad around 8000 Tweed residents work in Queensland and 5000 Queensland residents work in Tweed (so) 'our communities are intertwined in so many ways'.
"The Queensland Premier's decision strengthens my earlier call for a national lockdown for two to four weeks to give us time to get all the processes in place and reduce confusion," she said.
"At the moment we are seeing piecemeal decision making, when we need the most precautionary and unified approach."
Mr Gollschewski said the border would be closed 'for as long as we need it'.
"We're planning for months for this, not for a couple of weeks," he said.
"The planning is to sustain this for as long as six months if that's required."
Meanwhile, thousands of people across the border are still waiting for travel permit details.
With hours to go until residents living in northern NSW face a police controlled border, there is no system in place allowing them to apply for the proposed travel permit.
"We acknowledge this inconvenience may be quite challenging for some people, but we appeal to them to comply with our directions to help manage the impact of COVID-19 on our community," Mr Gollschewski 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."
Many residents say it would be difficult to stop people crossing the border, but the measures had been put in place to protect the community, Mr Gollschewski said.
"The fact about this is that what we're trying to do is reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19," he said.
"So that's about the big numbers of people coming across. The fact that someone might sneak through somewhere in the back of beyond, on some dirt track is probably not the focus for this. This is really about the big numbers of people on major corridors."
FULL LIST OF ROADS CLOSED:
• Nerang-Murwillumbah Road at Springbrook
• Tomewin Mountain Road at Currumbin Valley
• Kent Street at intersection with Toolan Street at Coolangatta
• Dixon Street roundabout with no access to Queensland from Charles Street to Florence Street at Coolangatta
• Dixon Street at intersection with Bay Street at Coolangatta
• Miles Street at Coolangatta opposite Len Peak Oval.
Originally published as SHUTDOWN: The only 3 roads into QLD for months