Troops called in to reinforce border
Troops are being deployed to reinforce the Queensland border after a week of traffic mayhem and long delays for motorists.
About 60 Australian Defence Force personnel are expected to mobilise at the five Gold Coast border checkpoints from Sunday to help police and State Emergency Service volunteers control the crossings.
The move comes after almost 80 western Sydney suburbs were declared COVID-19 hot spots this week, just days after Queensland reopened its border to travellers from all states except Victoria.
Soldiers were called in to man the checkpoints when the border was first closed in March but have not been deployed for some time.
Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said police had requested fresh army back-up to try to ease the congestion.
"It's about boosting our capacity at our vehicle checkpoints to get people through as quickly as possible while keeping COVID-19 out of Queensland," he said.
Almost 400 people have been turned around at the Coast checkpoints since the border reopened on July 10.
They include a man from a Sydney hotspot who was caught twice trying to sneak across the border in a bus on Friday morning. The 42-year-old was fined $4004.
"This is the sort of thing we are dealing with and why it's labour-intensive," Supt Wheeler said.
"We get criticised for stopping buses but it's what we have to do to ensure that everyone coming into Queensland is not from a designated hotspot."
Up to 50 police, soldiers and SES volunteers will man the checkpoints at any one time.
Originally published as Troops called in to reinforce Queensland border