Miles calls out feds for removing troops from border
Steven Miles has again hit out at the federal government over plans to pull troops from the borders, releasing correspondence that shows police requested continued support as early as Monday.
It came as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg insisted the government had used the defence force to support the states at "every opportunity".
Sixty Australian Defence Force personnel have helped police, State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service volunteers man the checkpoints for several months but will withdraw next Wednesday, the day before the border partially reopens.
The letters, released today, show Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschweski wrote to the Defence Department on September 21, asking that ADF support continue on the road borders through to October 19.
Mr Gollschweski said the extension would ensure adequate resources and time to meet the demand that is expected to arise from the heightened pressure on hotel quarantine as international arrivals increase.
He stressed how "essential" the assistance at the road border would be as he also thanked them for ongoing future commitments, such as helping with hotel quarantine.
The troops are expected to leave the borders on September 30 to prepare for the storm season.
Deputy Premier Miles today claimed the federal government was using the defence force as a bargaining chip in "their war against our COVID-19 restrictions".
Speaking on 4BC radio, Mr Frydenberg rubbished suggestions that the federal government deliberately pulled troops to damage Queensland's border policy.
"We have used the defence force to support the states at every opportunity as you know," he said.
"We have deployed them in multiple states to help the states deal with, whether it's the quarantine issues, whether it's testing and tracing, whether it's logistics - just like during the bushfires.
"Our defence force have done a remarkable job helping the community through a crisis.
The Gold Coast's top cop says it will be 'business as usual' at border checkpoints despite the army pulling out, just as Queensland prepares to reopen to northern NSW.
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said there would be a 'significant' increase in traffic at and delays at the checkpoints with all Queenslanders now able to freely enter northern NSW and 152,000 extra people from areas including Ballina, Byron Bay and Lismore allowed to cross the Tweed River.
But he said police has been planning for the withdrawal and reinforcements were being sent in from across the state to fill the gap left by the ADF.
"This is not out of the ordinary for us and we will have sufficient resources to get the job done," he said.
Originally published as Miles calls out feds for removing troops from border