Man was free to cross Qld border, but instead hid in boat, fined $4000

A man has paid a heavy price for attempting to bypass Queensland border checks – incurring a $4000 fine even though he was eligible to cross the border for free.

Nov 16, 2020, updated Nov 16, 2020
Superintendent Mark Wheeler. (Photo: ABC)

Superintendent Mark Wheeler. (Photo: ABC)

Police are preparing for a massive influx of border traffic in the lead-up to the State of Origin decider on Wednesday, with delays for thousands of people crossing from NSW into Queensland already near the July peak.

As restrictions relax from 4pm Tuesday allowing restaurants, bars and cafes, museums and art galleries across Queensland to double their capacity, and an expected Origin full house at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, police said travellers were already making their way north.

However, the easing of restrictions had caused some confusion for travellers, Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said.

On Saturday, police discovered a stowaway in a boat being towed back into Queensland from NSW, even though the man was eligible for the free online border pass.

Wheeler said police stopped an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, then found a 25-year old Beaudesert man who had been to the Tweed fishing hiding in the boat it was towing.

“The unfortunate thing here is that that man would have been eligible to apply for a border pass, but he chose not to. He chose to hide in the vessel,” Wheeler told ABC radio.

The man was fined $4000 for the border pass breach, plus $400 for not wearing a seatbelt.

“Unfortunately for him it was an expensive exercise and he concedes he made a big mistake,” Wheeler said.

Traffic backed up for kilometres from the border at the Gold Coast on Sunday, causing delays of about 90 minutes.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“This is probably equal to the peak we had back in July. It reflects the amount of people who are now eligible now to come in. It (traffic) moved, but it moved very slowly,” Wheeler said.

He said there had already been more than 68,000 applications for a border pass in the new border pass system that autogenerates a pass for travellers based on their answers to a series of questions, which replaces the old system on Tuesday.

He said he expected border crossings under the current regulations to peak in the lead-up to the State of Origin.

The Queensland border is now open to all but travellers who have been in Greater Sydney and Victoria in the past 14 days. From 11.59pm Monday, similar “hotspot” restrictions will be placed on travellers from South Australia.

The restrictions mean 3 million people from across regional NSW are still able to freely pass through Queensland border checks into the state as long as they have the correct border pass.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy