A Victorian man has been charged over allegedly attempting to bribe a police officer at the New South Wales (NSW) southern border. Travel across the border is currently only by permit due to the extreme outbreak of the CCP virus in parts of the state’s capital, Melbourne.
Just before 2 p.m. on Friday, police stopped the man in his vehicle at the Barmah Bridge checkpoint and asked for his border crossing permit.
The man allegedly didn’t have a permit, instead, he offered an envelope with $1000 to the officer, NSW Police said in a media release.
The Victorian man was arrested and taken to Deniliquin Police Station, where he was charged.
He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear before Moama Local Court on Nov. 4.
Australia’s internal borders have been the subject of impassioned discussion amongst the country’s leaders this week.
The national cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Scott Morrison with state premiers and territory chief ministers, met on Friday and agreed to work towards the goal of reopening the borders by Christmas.
This came after the prime minister and other federal ministers outlined their hopes throughout the week for a common national approach to defining COVID-19 hotspots that allow borders to be reopened proportionally to those people in zones with less risk.
The tourism minister warned the state border closures could cost $55 billion this year, with popular destination North Queensland already losing $7 million per day in what is usually their peak season for domestic travellers.
The Queensland border will remain closed for at least another month. Its premier said she won’t consider a reopening until the southern states significantly reduce the rate of community transmission of COVID-19.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian described Queensland’s benchmark of 28 days of no community transmission in NSW before removing its border controls as “a pretty tall order.”
“We’ve demonstrated for two months nearly that you can actually maintain a good control of the virus and keep your economy going,” she said.
“I hope other states have the confidence to take their borders down and do the same,” she said.
The Queensland’s chief health officer said on Friday: “We can’t afford to have a single case. If we have a single case that comes from New South Wales or Victoria and they go into a high-risk setting like an aged care facility, we could immediately have an outbreak, and we could have deaths.”