20.4 C
Byron Shire
September 20, 2021

Tamara Smith opposes border closure

Latest News

A new COVID-19 case flies into the Far North Coast

The Northern NSW Local Health District has confirmed that there is a new case of COVID-19 in Northern NSW today, and they will be included in NSW Health’s official reporting tomorrow.

Other News

A moment of your life?

Six questions for Jehovah’s Witness doorknockers: 1. Are you aware that the 2016 Royal Commission into Institutional Handling of Child...

Banned bunnies

Did you know that pet bunnies are banned in Queensland? But not in New South Wales! We’ve all seen the...

COVID-19 updated venue of concern excludes Lismore’s Workers

The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) have updated their list of venues of concern for the Lismore LGA.

NRPP transparency questioned over controversial Evans Head Iron Gates development

Concerns have been raised over the transparency of the process of the Northern Rivers Planning Panel (NRPP), by which it reached a decision, in relation to the Iron Gates development in Evans Head, to ‘accept the amendment of the application under Clause 55 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulations 2000’.

New COVID – casual contact location – BP Chinderah Southbound

NNSWLHD has been notified of a new casual contact venue visited by a confirmed case of COVID-19 who travelled between Sydney and Brisbane for work.

A new COVID-19 case flies into the Far North Coast

The Northern NSW Local Health District has confirmed that there is a new case of COVID-19 in Northern NSW today, and they will be included in NSW Health’s official reporting tomorrow.

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith. Photo Tree Faerie.

Mia Armitage*

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith says she doesn’t agree with calls to close the New South Wales border.

Country Labor Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot was calling on the NSW premier to close the state’s borders after Queensland’a Labor-led government shut borders to the sunshine state last week.

Byron Mayor Simon Richardson and Ballina Mayor David Wright backed the call.

But while Ms Smith had called for an end to buses of backpackers coming to Byron, the Ballina MP echoed concerns of Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest about police resources if NSW was to reciprocate Queensland’s move.

‘Our police do not want to waste their energy on border patrol,’ Ms Smith told Bay FM’s Community Newsroom last week.

Ms Smith said if NSW police had to patrol the border as QLD police are doing on the other side, it would divert them away from ‘really important stuff’.

Border patrol: ‘an army to catch a few fish’ says MP

‘I think community policing is far more important,’ said the Greens MP, adding that her view was based on what local police had told her.

‘It basically was described to me as putting an army to catch a few fish,’ Ms Smith said.

Monitoring people in the community who had confirmed cases of Coronavirus and were supposed to be in quarantine was a police priority along with promotion of physical distancing, she said.

Meanwhile, Tweed Byron Superintendent Roptell said he and his colleagues weren’t immune to COVID-19 but had already had to knock on the doors of people accused of breaching quarantine orders.

Stay-cations or cop it, say regional police

Regional police leaders around the state have urged NSW residents not to leave their homes this Easter for holidays and in particular, to stay away from regional areas like the Northern Rivers.

On-the-spot fines and six months jail time were applicable for anyone leaving home without an acceptable reason, listed as part of stricter public health orders announced last week in efforts to flatten the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘You come driving up from Sydney or you’re driving up from Coffs Harbour to go to Byron Bay, that’s non-essential travel,’ Supt Dave Roptell told Community Newsroom.

‘You’re caught and there’s proof that that’s occurred? $11,000’, he said, ’for every other day that you remain, there’s extra amounts of money also added on to that’.

Supt Roptell said he hoped policing of the pandemic wouldn’t get to the point where fines for non-essential travel were necessary.

‘Each case will be assessed on its own merits because you never know, someone in a caravan driving up the road, they might be going to their sick parents,’ the police leader said.

‘People will know that they’re doing the wrong thing or the right thing and we’ll get to the bottom of it.’

Essential travel? Not what you might think

Acceptable reasons for leaving the home included shopping for essential goods and services, with food and medicine often given as examples.

But with the Prime Minister defining anyone still actively employed as being an ‘essential worker’, volunteers and customers of organisations still operating were allowed to leave home for those purposes.

Ms Smith said the use of the word ‘essential’ in this context was disappointing but voiced concern over anecdotal reports of workers in retail shops besides those selling food receiving verbal abuse from passers-by for keeping their stores open during the pandemic.

Supt Roptell agreed travel to places still open and selling goods and services officially considered ‘essential’ was acceptable and wouldn’t incur fines.

‘You’re going to an essential service, you’re going to get your hair cut, someone’s employed, they’re cutting your hair, going to the shops, that’s an essential service, that would be permitted in my view,’ Supt Roptell said.

Both Ms Smith and Supt Roptell made it clear they supported the overall message to stay home, stay safe and to practice physical distancing.

*Mia Armitage is producer of Bay FM’s Community Newsroom


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

20 COMMENTS

  1. The Queensland Government is implementing strict new coronavirus rules for Queenslanders returning home from interstate.

    From tomorrow night, anyone returning home will need a special permit to cross back into Queensland.

    Anyone who has visited a virus hotspot like Sydney will need to quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her message to Queensland residents was “now is not the time to go into New South Wales”, and warned border controls could get even tougher.

    thank you Qld.. the NSW govt wouldn’t do it

  2. This logic invokes the old metaphor of ambulances at the bottom of the cliff rather than a fence at the top.

    If border control stems a significant flow of visitors to our beaches (and the number of Qld number plates around suggests it would) I don’t call this a waste of resources. And how much of the vital community policing is made ineffectual by the impossibility of determining where people are from, or controlling their behaviour, once they are outside their cars.

    The locals are much more likely to be doing the right thing than the irresponsible beings oblivious to regulation and pleas to stay home. There is more likelihood of visitors from the north, now their beaches are closed for Easter, than southerners leaving their own beaches – though there is much merit in concerns that police resources will be spread too thinly.

    The obvious need is for extra resources for communities like ours made incredibly vulnerable by some present crazy circumstances. Byron Shire has been a cash cow for the state and federal governments for many years now with little compensation. Now’s the time we really need some pay back in resourcing.

    That said, the actions of the Queensland government in imposing this totally illogical 1-way closure – no quarantine time upon return – is unconscionable and endangers northern NSW. What has Gladys not been screaming the roof off?

    One question I’d really like answered is: Will state borders allow access to Brisbane’s emergency facilities in the event of a northern NSW health care collapse – precipitated by the hordes allowed to travel cross border at will? Sydney is a much longer flight!

    Think again, Tamara, and put some pressure on where it’s needed.

  3. A border closure wouldnt need Police, drivers are legally required to obey the directions of an accredited Traffic Controller (that do the Stop/Go signs on roadworks/events etc). They could turn cars around at the border. We are still getting Qld ers (and Qld is still having problems with non compliance on their gold Coast beaches)

  4. Just heard the news – Qld government is really cracking down!!! Qld citizens returning will now have to apply for a permit – online. IF they declare they are returning from a hot spot like Sydney ?? (do we count?) they will have to quarantine for 14 days.

    Again – totally full of holes and totally Qld self interested. The idea is to stop movement – ideally in the national interest.

  5. Very disappointing. “Tamara Smith says she doesn’t agree with calls to close the New South Wales border.” How about thinking about what your electors want instead of your personal choices? You ignored two of my emails and a Facebook post on this subject – you’ve lost my vote.

  6. Seems Q’land has now done us all a favour by telling Q’landers they all now need a pass to return home and to quarantine for 2 weeks after returning the Sunshine State.

  7. Very disappointing Tamara. The ‘holiday let’ signs are still up in Byron Bay. Some of the Easter holiday makers are already here. Never thought I’d be saying this but … thank you Qld for doing something to protect Byron Bay when own government, Green MP included, doesn’t think we are worth it.

  8. The Qld Premier has finally seen the light….. Now
    that’s a surprise. Still, it’s guaranteed she won’t
    give way on Adani trashing the state. Succeeding
    is the way to go, Annastacia.

  9. While I agree that the police have better and more important work to do, why not use the army to controll the borders? As is being done in other countries.

  10. Mark and Debbie, I fear the crackdown is all smoke and mirrors. What selfish day trippers to Byron Bay are going to admit where they went on their permit application? Everyone else is a free ride through as usual. Anastasia was worried that people returning from hotspots endanger fellow Queenslanders. The logical extension is that it’s fine to visit other areas and endanger them or make them new hot spots. Totally disgraceful attitude when this is supposed to be a national effort. All in this together? – not.

  11. This logic invokes the old metaphor of ambulances at the bottom of the cliff rather than a fence at the top.

    If border control stems a significant flow of visitors to our beaches (and the number of Qld number plates around suggests it would) I don’t call this a waste of resources. And how much of the vital community policing is made ineffectual by the impossibility of determining where people are from, or controlling their behaviour, once they are outside their cars.

    The locals are much more likely to be doing the right thing than the irresponsible beings oblivious to regulation and pleas to stay home. There is more likelihood of visitors from the north, now their beaches are closed for Easter, than southerners leaving their own beaches – though there is much merit in concerns that police resources will be spread too thinly.

    The obvious need is for extra resources for communities like ours made incredibly vulnerable by some present crazy circumstances. Byron Shire has been a cash cow for the state and federal governments for many years now with little compensation. Now’s the time we really need some pay back in resourcing.

    That said, the actions of the Queensland government in imposing this totally illogical 1-way closure – no quarantine time upon return – is unconscionable and endangers northern NSW. Why has Gladys not been screaming the roof off?

    One question I’d really like answered is: Will state borders allow access to Brisbane’s emergency facilities in the event of a northern NSW health care collapse – precipitated by the hordes allowed to travel cross border at will? Sydney is a much longer flight!

    Think again, Tamara, and put some pressure on where it’s needed.

  12. Hard to believe comments/opinions made by Tamara Smith: “Our Police don’t want to waste energy on Border Patrol”, Really ? Helping ensure a huge source of Covid Disease does not infiltrate our region is wasted energy ?
    “Divert them away from really important stuff”? When the entire world is experiencing and dying from this deadly virus, including NSW, this is not really important “stuff”, or health work as the majority of us would see it ?
    “Community policing is far more important”. Is not Border Control against a deadly disease not control for the Community ?
    “Putting our army to catch a few fish” ? Is Tamara Smith completely devoid of statics reported hour by hour of how dramatically and rapidly Covid-19 magnifies from each and every single individual who either has it, or can be an unwilling carrier.
    Truly appalled and horrified that someone sitting in our Parliament can be so unknowing !

  13. Queensland day trippers everywhere in Suffolk last 2 days…'”social policing” ok if you’ re up for some verbal (or worse ) abuse …no thanks . Should be a restriction in line with other sacrifices we are making at the moment

  14. With the population on the Gold Coast, it could be expected to have many more people contract the virus than we would have on the Tweed, and yet there has been absolutely no restriction on them travelling south. Think back to the cruise ship fiasco where just a handful of infected passengers resulted in being responsible for 30% of infected Australians. Sadly politicians in N.S.W. allowed thousands of possibly affected passengers to simply walk off the ships and mingle with the population without any checks. Now the same thing is potentially taking place on the state borders. Obviously NSW does stand for Newcastle, Sydney & Wollongong .

  15. Hi we came from overseas about 12 days ago and went to quranteen upon arrival my question is we will be free to go in next 2 days we gor qld plate number and we are resident it mean with qld border close to even their residents we will be living on street with 2 years old in sydney. In next few month thats not fair

  16. Close the border and put penalties in place but do waste police resources. That is enough to probably satisfy your electorate. Do it or lose your job next election.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Found – Have you seen Steve? Missing person

Mullumbimby man Steve Mustchin went missing at 11am this morning from Byron Bay Hospital and his family are asking locals to keep an eye out for him.

Images released of men who robbed the Byron Bowlo

Detectives investigating the armed robbery of a licensed premises in Byron Bay earlier this year, have released CCTV images and are appealing for public information that may assist their inquiries.

New Nesbitt Park mountain bike skills course in Lismore

Though Lismore is currently in lockdown, the city has inaugurated a new sporting activity in Nesbitt Park that will make residents want to enjoy outdoors as soon as possible.

New cases of COVID-19 below 1,000 for the first time in 25 days

In what is now a general press conference, the Premier spoke to media at 11am this morning about the pandemic and other business.