Police fined 15 people at a Bowen backpackers found to be blatantly and wilfully ignoring social distancing requirements
Police fined 15 people at a Bowen backpackers found to be blatantly and wilfully ignoring social distancing requirements

$28K fines for ‘blatant, wilful’ ignorance of health orders

MORE than $28,000 in fines were handed out to residents found blatantly disregarding social distancing directions across the long weekend.

Among those to be fined were 15 people at a Bowen backpackers who were cautioned by police before being fined $1334 for non-compliance with the Chief Health Officer's directions.

Another four people, including a man, 28, who was tasered by police after allegedly becoming aggressive towards officers, were fined in Airlie Beach.

He was later charged with assault and obstruct police.

Two people were fined in separate incidents in Mackay.

Mackay Whitsunday police district Superintendent Glenn Morris said despite the 21 fines, the majority of residents had been well-behaved and complied with requirements.

It brings the total number of non-compliance notices for the district to 86, or more than $114,700 in fines.

"We have seen some tremendous compliance with the Chief Health Officer's directions," Supt Morris said.

"Unfortunately, we did see a number of separate occurrences, particularly in Bowen and Whitsunday, where people weren't complying.

"Police attended a backpackers located in Bowen and despite a number of warnings given to the occupants, 15 infringement notices have been issued.

"The backpacker accommodation providers throughout the Mackay Whitsunday district have been very good and have been working with police giving assistance to complying with the directions."

Supt Morris said no fines were issued for people violating requirements on public beaches.

"Directions are pretty straightforward and they're here to protect everybody and everybody needs to comply with the directions," he said.

"But if we see selfish, wilful, blatant disregard of those directions then police will be taking enforcement action and that is what has occurred on 21 occasions over the weekend."

High-visibility police operations targeting the Fatal Five on the region's highways caught 90 motorists speeding, with the highest alleged speed of 132kmh in a 100kmh zone.

Speeding made for the majority of the 143 traffic fines issued across the long weekend, with another eight drug-drivers and seven drink-drivers detected.

"Can I just reinforce the message that road safety is everybody's business all of the time," Supt Morris said.

"The public will continue to see high visibility operations targeting those life endangering offences."