Goondiwindi Regional Council confirms local residents can still cross Queensland border

REGIONAL: Goondiwindi Regional Council has confirmed that residents who live near the region’s Queensland border will continue to be able to cross between the states for work, school, shopping and medical appointments. They will not be required to self-isolate after doing so.

Council received clarification about the region’s special position during a tele-conference with the Queensland Government this afternoon. The clarification follows Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s announcement yesterday that the State’s border will close from midnight on Wednesday to all non-essential travel.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has advised that although an exemption exists for residents of border towns, interstate travel must still be kept to a minimum. It is understood that police checkpoints will be established on access roads into Queensland to monitor traffic and to prevent non-essential interstate travel.

As an example, from midnight on Wednesday all travellers wishing to enter the State through Goondiwindi will have to go through the roundabout at the junction of the Newell Highway and Cunningham Highway. The QPS will operate this access point to monitor road traffic 24/7.

There will be no access into Queensland via the Goondiwindi Border Bridge – this will be closed to all traffic.

Mayor of the Goondiwindi region Graeme Scheu said that although the measures would present an inconvenience to local residents, the key message was that they could continue to access the same services in the region as before.

“The closure of the borders is really about getting on top of any unnecessary travel between states, especially with the Easter holidays starting next week,” the Mayor said.

However, he also warned residents to prepare for the possibility that these restrictions could stay in place for six months.

“Stopping travel where we can is one of the best forms of defence against the spread of COVID-19 across Australia,” Cr Scheu said.

“At the time of this release, Queensland Health has advised that there are no confirmed cases of the virus in the Goondiwindi region.

“We now know that there is a special exemption in place for residents of border towns, but the message we’re getting from the State Government is that we’re relying on public to be responsible about their travel or else measures may need to be increased – so don’t abuse it.

“If you’re coming up into the region from nearby to go to work, do your shopping, to go to the doctors, the message is that that’s OK. Just give yourself more time if you have to cross the border because who knows if there might be delays.

“I’d also recommend that all employers prepare a letter or some documentation to give to staff who have to cross the border for work purposes.”

Further enquiries about the details of the border closure should be directed to the Queensland Police Service on (07) 4671 7777.

Media Release: Tuesday, March 24, 2020