Top cop heckled as anger explodes over border delays
ANGER at hours-long border delays spilled over in extraordinary scenes at a police press conference in Coolangatta this morning.
A woman in a passing car heckled Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler, screaming "I have been waiting for an hour" as he gave an update to media on border checks.
Other motorists engaged in loud whoops and beeping as they passed the press conference.
MAYOR CALLS FOR REFERENDUM ON BORDER
Chief Supt Wheeler confirmed there had been significant delays for those travelling into across the border this morning, saying they were "unavoidable".
Two new hotspots in NSW were declared by the chief Health Officer yesterday causing every car with a NSW number plate to be stopped, with officers checking people had not visited the Liverpool or Campbelltown Local Government Areas.
"At the airport we are scrutinising every passenger who comes through and as of yesterday lunchtime we turned around five people at our airport and as of lunchtime yesterday we turned around five people at our border vehicle checkpoints," Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
"The delays are very unfortunate, but they are unavoidable at the moment."
Chief Supt Wheeler said while he knew of reports of hour-long wait times there were also those he had heard about waiting for up to two hours.
He said a review is currently being undertaken into staffing requirements, method of operations and safety at border checkpoints.
"What I will say there will still be a requirement to converge that traffic into one lane so it can be assessed, filtered and can be inspected if necessary," he said
SOUTHERN TOURISTS IN SHORTEST HOLIDAY EVER
He could not confirm how long traffic delays would continue into the coming days.
"What we will see in the coming days is the public will catch up with the declaration system provided there haven't been more hot spots declared. It is a really evolving situation, things are happening incredibly quickly and is changing by the day and sometimes by the hour."
Traffic slowed to a crawl on roads approaching the border this morning.
Kilometres of traffic had backed on the M1, with some local residents saying the tailbacks were the worst yet seen.
"That is they haven't been able to declare they haven't been in a local government area of Liverpool or Campbelltown.
"We expect over the coming days that the public will catch up with that, but in the interim, we really need to scrutinise those vehicles heavily."
He added the border checkpoint remained a "rapidly evolving situation".
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has said he will go to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with a plan to have the border moved 7km south to the Tweed River in a bid to alleviate the chaos.
Business and community leaders have widely backed the move, while Tweed Shire Council is opposed.
Today's traffic chaos comes as Gold Coast theme park Movie World prepares to reopen this morning for the first time in almost four months.
A total 1000 staff will return to work across Movie World and Wet'n'Wild, with thousands of guests expected to pass through on the first day.