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December 10, 2023

Police clamping down on Public Health Act infringements

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Both the New South Wales and the Queensland police forces are making it clear that they will not be lenient with people who are not adhering to the law when it comes to health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New South Wales

New South Wales police have charged seven people under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and issued 45 COVID-19 related Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) for offences within the past 24 hours.

Locally, three separate incidents in Ballina saw police warn several members of the public and arrest one man.

Police say that at around 12am on Saturday 18 April, officers from Tweed/Byron Police District were patrolling Missingham Park, Ballina, and spoke to three men, before issuing them a warning about the current restrictions under the Public Health Act.

Two hours later police were called to Owen Street, Ballina, and spoke to five people – three men and two women – who were consuming alcohol. The group claimed they were fishing when warned about the current restrictions, before being moved on from the area.

At about 2.30am, police were called to Meldrum Park where a 21-year-old man refused to leave and was arrested. Following a struggle with officers, he was taken to Ballina Police Station and charged with not comply with noticed direction re S7/8/9 – COVID-19, furnish false or misleading information, refuse/fail to comply with direction under Part 14, resist officer in execution of duty, and breach of bail. He was refused bail to appear at Lismore Local Court.


The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is providing ongoing support to Queensland Health as part of a co-ordinated whole of government response to the COVID-19 situation.

Under the provisions of the Public Health Act, police officers can take enforcement action against anyone who is failing to comply with public health directions set out by the Chief Health Officer.

An integral part of the QPS response is to ensure compliance with directions particularly around self-isolation, state borders, non-essential business activity, home confinement, movement and gathering.

Officers can also issue on the spot fines of $1334 for individuals and $6,672 for corporations which fail to abide by the health directions.

QPS COVID-19 response statistics 

The following preliminary statistics are current as at: 12.01am Monday, April 20.  

Last 24hrs  Cumulative total since March 27
Breach of public health directions infringement notices 46 1,198
Compliance checks conducted on individuals in quarantine 40 4,239
Compliance checks conducted on non-essential businesses 0 6,195
Vehicles intercepted at state borders 1972 98,631
Vehicles turned around at state borders 11 1,663
People directed to quarantine at state road borders 100 3,791
Domestic airport passengers arriving into Queensland 161 16,636
Domestic airport passengers directed to quarantine 0 3,061
People refused entry to Qld at domestic airports 1 50

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  1. I was pulled over en route to fix a customers computer. The officer told me I was out of my suburb and required an explanation.
    I told the officer that I was travelling for that purpose.
    He wanted evidence of that. Legally I am not required to give him anything other than my drivers licence.

    As this was beyond his legal scope for stopping me I suggested he could write me a ticket and we can discuss in it in court in 9 months time.

    He declined the offer.

    Most of these tickets will not hold up in court.

  2. I am sure that this occurring while going about your business is really annoying and seems intrusive but these are extraordinary times and I’m sure it’s not easy for anyone attempting conscientiously to do their job, including the police. How else are these restrictions on movements going to be realised?

    It really depends on the degree to which you think we should be following the advice of the epidemiologists and other experts that will determine where you sit on the spectrum from outrage to cooperation. I’m leaning towards gratitude for a policy that seems to have saved us from the outcomes seen in Europe and the US – I just wish I could see a bit more evidence of it near the only place I go each day, the beach.


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