Do you need a border passport?

Elaine wants to know when she can visit Queensland.

•••

Q. Elaine
My friends and I can’t wait to get to Queensland, but I’m told we can’t go quite yet. When will we be allowed to go? Do we need one of these border passports to get there? Are they even real?

A. Travellers might be forgiven for thinking there has been a solid unbreachable wall erected along the Queensland border.

Right now, it’s one of the most difficult borders for outsiders to cross.

A shame, too, as for you and the many, it’s one of the most desirable states for southerners coming out of lockdown and looking for some warmer weather in which to spread their COVID-19 clipped wings.

According to The New Daily, Queensland Police have intercepted 238,529 vehicles at the state’s border since entry restrictions were imposed in March and have turned 2484 away.

“Let me make it very clear, the border will remain closed for the month of June,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaczczuk.

Queensland celebrated zero new coronavirus cases for the third straight day last Sunday and, at the time of writing, has only five active cases. But don’t expect a decision to ease border restrictions to be made for at least another two weeks.

In other words, if you don’t have a border passport, don’t bother showing up to the border. Yet.

What are these ‘border passports’?

In Queensland, they’re called a Queensland Entry Pass.

If you’re a Queensland resident, you’ll need to fill out a short online questionnaire, listing personal details and whether you’ve returned from overseas or travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days.

Non-residents who are not exempt under the Border Restrictions Direction, or don’t have an exemption from the chief health officer, are ineligible for a pass.

“Where a person does not meet the requirement of being an exempt resident or exempt person, they are turned around at the border and not permitted to enter Queensland,” said a police spokesperson.

“Anyone who fails to comply with public health directions, as outlined in Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005, may be issued with a $1334 infringement notice.”

queensland coronavirus quarantine road signs

Queensland is not the only state turning travellers back at the border.

You’ll need a similar document to enter Western Australia.

Entry is not guaranteed for non-residents thinking about holidaying there, but local residents are allowed to travel intrastate.

Sounds harsh? Once you enter the Northern Territory, you’ll be shepherded to a nearby hotel for two weeks of quarantine – unless the essential nature of your work exempts you from the strict border controls.

But if you want to “avoid unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship”, you must first get permission from the chief health officer delegate to enter into the Northern Territory.

That includes those wishing to visit a dying family member, attend a funeral, or collect critical goods.

If you don’t have permission, you’ll be escorted, monitored and accommodated for 14 days of forced quarantine – at your expense.

That’ll set you back around $2500 for accommodation, food and medical support, as well as security and policing. Families of two or more will need to pay $5000.

And even if you’re permitted to visit the NT, you can only stay for 48 hours maximum. You’ll also need to show police a physical copy of your travel plan.

After 15 June, interstate travellers will be able to choose their own quarantine arrangements.

Territorians wishing to travel within NT’s borders are advised to take only the main roads, including the Stuart, Arnhem, Barkly and Victoria highways, and avoid travelling through remote communities. Stops are only to be made in towns.

Travel restrictions in or through remote and vulnerable indigenous communities remain in place.

You’ll also need a completed ‘arrival form’ when dropping into Tasmania, which cannot be submitted electronically beforehand. And essential and non-essential workers will be required to self-isolate at government-provided accommodation for 14 days upon arrival, unless you’re a resident, in which case you can quarantine at home.

How keen are you to get to Queensland?

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Related articles:
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/travel/travel-qanda/what-is-an-immunity-passport
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/health/covid19/keep-our-borders-closed-says-member
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/health/covid19/verdict-on-our-covid19-response

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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