Fresh claims about magnate’s yacht voyage

Fresh claims have been made about Melbourne property magnate Mark Simonds' family voyage to Queensland aboard luxury superyacht Lady Pamela as police investigations are underway.

On Wednesday A Current Affair reported the Simonds party are staying in quarantine in the king suite of Queensland's QT hotel after being moved from their luxury yacht.

The multi-millionaire Mark Simonds, his glamorous wife Cheryl, their son Vallance and his girlfriend Hannah Fox, were taken by minibus to the hotel after Queensland Health revoked their COVID-19 related exemption on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether the three crew who served the three Simonds and Ms Fox, who is the granddaughter of Victorian trucking billionaire Lindsay Fox, are isolating at the same hotel.

It comes as a NSW local also told the program he saw a person he believed to have come off the boat near Eden - further down the coast.

There is no suggestion that any of the passengers did anything unlawful. Nobody has been arrested or charged over the incident.

Both Queensland and NSW Police are probing allegations about the Simonds voyage which left Melbourne on August 9 and arrived in Queensland after six stops en route.

On Monday NSW Police Force's Marine Area Command confirmed it was investigating the movements of the vessel while in NSW waters.

"This includes inquiries into the activities of the occupants where the vessel may have docked along the NSW coast and whether there are breaches of Public Health Orders."

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller later said: "There are not two standards for those who have, and those who have not."

Queensland's chief health officer Jeanette Young said the COVID-19 exemption plan under which the Lady Pamela was "was for 14 days out at sea".

"They have to be on that yacht with no contact with anyone, the yacht with no-one going on or off," Ms Young said.

ACA also reported that the yacht had a "movement of freight permit" issued by Service NSW, which police are now investigating.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was "disgusted" by the allegations.

"I am disgusted about it, and now there is a criminal investigation because it puts the community at risk," she said, according to a report in The Age.

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Fresh claims have been made about the voyage of the Simonds party aboard the luxury yacht Lady Pamela which is now at the Gold Coast marina. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Fresh claims have been made about the voyage of the Simonds party aboard the luxury yacht Lady Pamela which is now at the Gold Coast marina. Picture: Channel 9/ACA

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The Simonds Homes chief executive and his family sailed up the east coast on their superyacht, more than a month after Linfox trucking heir Peter Fox, the father of Hannah Fox, went to the Gold Coast.

On Tuesday afternoon, health officers boarded the Simonds yacht and gave COVID-19 tests to the family party and three crew.

That night, police boarded the yacht - which has its own Instagram page, livery, and uniformed staff - and disembarked all seven for quarantine in a government-approved hotel.

A Queensland Health spokesman said the state's Chief Health Officer has "revoked her exemption for seven people aboard the Lady Pamela vessel."

"All seven people are now required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 14 days at their own expense."

"Attempting to bypass or manipulate Queensland's border direction is unacceptable."

It's understood new information provided to Queensland Health indicated the owner was granted the exemption approval based on incomplete information.

A Current Affair filmed Mr Simonds and his wife Cheryl enjoying drinks with friends on the deck of the Lady Pamela, others jumping off the side for a swim or cruising in an inflatable dinghy during one of the stopovers on the voyage north.

The 30m Italian built marble and gold finished Lady Pamela was just one of several ways rich Victorians were leaving the state during lockdown.

The Lady Pamela at Gold Coast City Council Marina after the Simonds family were taken off into hotel quarantine.
The Lady Pamela at Gold Coast City Council Marina after the Simonds family were taken off into hotel quarantine.

It has also been revealed that other wealthy Victorians are leaving the state in private jets to avoid Premier Daniel Andrews' strict COVID-19 lockdown laws.

Daily Mail Australia reported Victoria's elite with private aircraft were even asking pilots to turn off the plane's transponders to escape detection.

Mr Simonds is the latest of Victoria's wealthy trying to escape masks and COVID-19 restrictions for the Queensland sunshine.

Both he and Mr Fox and their families were granted exemptions for different reasons despite Queensland having forbidden the entry of most Victorian visitors. That was until Queensland Health revoked the exemption for the Simonds party.

Premier Andrews has been severely criticised for his plan to extend the government's ability to enforce COVID-19 restrictions by extending Victoria's state of emergency by 18 months.

A Current Affair reported earlier this month that Mr Fox, his wife Lisa and two other of their children had moved to the Gold Coast under a rule allowing truck drivers to enter the state.

Mr Fox told ACA he had a trucking licence, had brought a truck down to the Gold Coast from Cairns and was now a Queensland resident.

Hannah Fox and Vallance Simonds on the deck of the luxury superyacht. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Hannah Fox and Vallance Simonds on the deck of the luxury superyacht. Picture: Channel 9/ACA

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The family is renting a multi-millionaire dollar waterfront mansion from former Grand Prix motorcycle road racing world champion Mick Doohan where he told Nine he could keep his family "healthy and safe".

Mr Fox is one of six children of Linfox founder and self made billionaire Lindsay Fox and is Executive Chairman of the Linfox group.

Mr Simonds is one of three sons of Gary Simonds who founded the construction empire Simonds Homes more than 70 years ago.

The ASX-listed company is one of Australia's largest home builders.

Victoria's second wave coronavirus outbreak which saw daily cases soar above 700 a few weeks ago now appears to be on an overall downward trend, with 148 new cases on Tuesday, slightly up on the 116 new cases on Monday.

candace.sutton@news.com.au

Originally published as Fresh claims about magnate's yacht voyage

Cheryl Simonds aboard the Lady Pamela on its luxury voyage from Victoria to Queensland. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Cheryl Simonds aboard the Lady Pamela on its luxury voyage from Victoria to Queensland. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
The multi-millionaire and his family are taken off the superyacht and driven by minibus to a five star Gold Coast hotel. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
The multi-millionaire and his family are taken off the superyacht and driven by minibus to a five star Gold Coast hotel. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
The Simonds family are staying in the king suite of the five star boutique QT Hotel on the Gold Coast for 14 days. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
The Simonds family are staying in the king suite of the five star boutique QT Hotel on the Gold Coast for 14 days. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Cheryl Simonds is COVID-19 tested.
Cheryl Simonds is COVID-19 tested.
Mark Simonds is tested aboard. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Mark Simonds is tested aboard. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Hannah Fox on board the Lady Pamela as it cruised north away from Melbourne lockdown. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Hannah Fox on board the Lady Pamela as it cruised north away from Melbourne lockdown. Picture: Channel 9/ACA