Hi-tech solution as border checks drag on
BORDER chaos could continue until December as authorities look to a national traffic camera network to bolster their arsenal of tools to keep out motorists trying to sneak into the state.
The Courier-Mail can reveal police and transport inspectors are preparing their rosters for months of checkpoint work, with staff told yesterday to be available until the end of the year.
The news comes after another day of traffic chaos, with motorists stuck in two-hour traffic jams and 330 Victorian and NSW residents turned around since Friday as the Gold Coast's top cop was heckled by a frustrated driver during a press conference.
With every Victorian and NSW car now being stopped to ensure travellers aren't from hot spots across both states, senior police confirmed traffic cameras could be used to retrospectively track suspect vehicles.
"It's a matter of course for us," a senior police source said.
"We work closely with our NSW counterparts on the border control, and the highway cameras are just one of the tools at our disposal to track any vehicles that may be trying to cross into Queensland illegally."
The use of cameras to track motorists is expected to ramp up now that the Liverpool and Campbelltown local government areas in Sydney - covering almost 80 suburbs - have been declared COVID-19 hot spots.
Giving a media conference at Coolangatta, Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler was interrupted by a female motorist yelling out her car window: "An hour to get here."
Acknowledging lengthy delays, Supt Wheeler said police were reviewing the border controls to try to improve traffic flows.
He said police were reviewing the appearance of the border declaration pass as well as staffing models to try to "get more people through at once".
But he ruled out suggestions of special resident passes or locals-only lanes, saying it would be unworkable and also potentially create more confusion.
He warned of ongoing delays at the border for the foreseeable future.
"One thing I'll ask everyone to pack and that's pack an abundance of patience," he urged travellers.
"Know that we're doing our very best to get you through as quickly as possible."
Meanwhile, boats have also been turned around as authorities watch out for people trying to sneak ashore.
A Maritime Safety Queensland COVID-19 Border Management Team and Water Police are monitoring vessels crossing Queensland's interstate maritime borders, using the tracking history of a vessel's port of origin to check if they have come from Victoria.
"Since border restrictions were imposed, there have been no known breaches," MSQ general manager Angus Mitchell.
"Vessels not permitted to enter Queensland were turned around by Queensland Water Police at the request of MSQ."
Originally published as Hi-tech solution as border checks drag on