Queensland Border Closes: Returnees Must Front Hotel Quarantine Costs

August 8, 2020 Updated: August 8, 2020

BRISBANE—Queensland residents trying to come home from New South Wales, Victoria or the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) must now arrive by air and pay at least $2,800 (US$1,984) for their two-week stay in hotel quarantine.

The tough new rules follow Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to close off the border to guard against community transmission of coronavirus.

Those who fail to comply with the border rules could face an on-the-spot fine of $1,334, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,345 or six months’ imprisonment.

The closure came into force at 1 a.m. on Aug. 8 causing havoc at border crossings, with many cars waiting hours only to be turned around.

Queensland Police Services Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said 142 people – including 18 Queenslanders – were refused entry into the state after the border closed at 1 a.m. on Aug. 8.

“It’s unfortunate but this is all about stopping COVID-19 coming into Queensland,” he said.

Despite not having anywhere near the number of active cases as Victoria, Queensland has declared NSW and ACT virus hotspots.

“Victoria hasn’t improved as we hoped and I won’t wait for NSW to get any worse,” Palaszczuk said earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, a planned mass sit-in on Brisbane’s Story Bridge was postponed at the 11th hour.

Health Minister Steven Miles had warned people to stay away from the protest amid fears it could spark a wave of local infections, and described organisers as “selfish”.

In a statement posted online, Refugee Action Collective Queensland said the language police had used in recent days was deeply concerning.