Headlines

National News

NSW side of Qld border must close: mayors

Northern NSW residents want their side of the border with Queensland shut as well so travellers can't head south as part of the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Confusion for residents on each side of the border which was closed to north-bound travellers on Thursday was enough reason to stop people entering NSW, according to Tweed Mayor Katie Milne.

She agrees with Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson, who called on the NSW government to close its borders for non-essential travel.

"I don't understand why we are not having a national lockdown," Cr Milne told AAP.

Byron Shire Council deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye told AAP they wanted the NSW border closed to protect their own patch from holidaymakers importing the virus.

"We're a hot spot for visitors but we don't want to be a hot spot for the virus," Ms Ndiaye said on Thursday.

"The last thing we need is a big influx of visitors right now and closing the QLD/NSW border from the NSW side as well, needs to happen as a matter of urgency."

Not since 1919 has the border between Queensland and NSW effectively been closed.

Queensland Police stopped traffic off the M1 at Bilinga and only allowed people who needed to cross the border to enter the state.

After the new restrictions came into effect, Queensland police were on Thursday morning advising motorists with NSW licence plates how to get an entry permit.

The border patrol caused traffic to back up for kilometres on the M1.

Ms Milne said it was causing problems for residents who were having to wait in a queue for an hour and a half to pass.

Residents on both sides of the border seemed to be taking the new measures in their stride.

But many people who spoke with the AAP said they felt there was not enough information available before the new measures were introduced.

Tradesman Ben Callcott lives in the Tweed suburb of Banora Point, but works in Queensland.

He said there was plenty of confusion among his workmates this morning who were coming to grips with their new reality.

"At the moment it is not to bad but it is the first day - we don't know what it will be like in the coming days," Mr Callcott said.

"A few of our team who live in NSW stayed on the Gold Coast last night because they didn't know how it would all pan out."

Tweed resident Shane McMaster was another one of thousands stuck in traffic on his commute to the Gold Coast suburb of Robina.

But he said he wasn't bothered by the traffic.

"It's not too bad, just like an RBT I suppose," he said.

Those coming into Queensland for work, or other essential reasons, will need to go to the government website to obtain a permit.

State Disaster Coordinator, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski called for patience following a "soft launch" of the website providing entry permits.

Passes will be available for people to print at home and applicants will display them on their vehicle so they can cross the border more easily.

The border restrictions apply to all travel to Queensland by air, sea, rail or road.

© AAP 2020

Where to Listen

lafm logo47AD rgb7BU rgb7SD cmyk