‘Enough is enough’: Furious residents protesting at border
FURIOUS Gold Coast hinterland residents are staging a protest at the Queensland-NSW border calling for the Queensland Government to create a "checkpoint" and mobile barrier.
The Bulletin has received numerous complaints from rural-based families predicting their children, faced with a two-hour trip east to the Coast, will not start school on time on Monday in northern NSW.
Farmers also fear if they are injured on their properties in a machinery accident, lives will be at risk because a short trip across the border will be a two-hour long drive to the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Up to 30 people were meeting at the border gates at 9am.
Numinbah Valley resident Keith Douglas said farmers in the Numinbah Valley relied on service providers in Murwillumbah due to the 25-minute travel time from the hinterland side.
"The border closure has caused a huge inconvenience with an additional two hours travel time to access suppliers," Mr Douglas told The Bulletin.
"There has also been a lot of concern that ambulance conveyance to Murwillumbah Hospital has been cut off with double the travel time to Gold Coast hospitals, so being a farmer has carried additional risk in this area with the closed border."
Residents had acted in the spirit of "doing the right thing" but many children about to start high school in NSW were "blocked from resuming their studies".
The border road crossing just more than 40kms south west of Nerang has temporary water filled barrier which would require a crane or bulldozer to move it.
Some frustrated residents are leaving a car parked on one side and hopping in it after leaving another vehicle on their side after they arrive at the barrier.
"Many people who live across the border commute to the Gold Coast for work and business and a further complication has occurred this week with the closure of Korns Bridge for major repairs," Mr Douglas said.
"This is causing many people to have to endure even longer commute times to and from Queensland. The ridiculous aspect of this circumstance is that there are two security guards on duty 24/7 at the border.
"All that is needed is the option of a checkpoint so that those people who have valid reasons for business or education can go about their lives without being penalised.
"One security guard and one police officer is all that is needed to take away the huge inconvenience and cost that this closure is imposing on so many people."
Mr Douglas said the protest was about sending a message to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"Enough is enough - checkpoint at the border and we want it now," he said.
Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates supports the residents, having previously organised for a permanent barrier to be replaced by a more mobile structure which could be moved for emergency vehicles accessing Murwillumbah Hospital.
She said schools in NSW would open for business on Monday and without changes parents could be faced with a two-hour trip.
"Local families wanting to send their kids to school have been hit by the hard border closure and that needs to change," she said.
"The border can still be closed, but it doesn't need concrete barriers that restrict kids accessing their schools and teachers getting to work.
"Labor need to apply some common sense here and help these kids get to school.
"Queenslanders have done an outstanding job flattening the curve, but we can't let our kids lose a year of their education as well.
"Re-opening our schools is the first step in getting our economy back on track. It is manned now for emergencies, all they to do is take the barrier maintained for security and have passes so people can go work and take their kids to school."
Originally published as 'Enough is enough': Furious residents protesting at border