Selfless SES volunteers will make an incredible sacrifice this Christmas to keep Queensland safe from COVID-19.
Selfless SES volunteers will make an incredible sacrifice this Christmas to keep Queensland safe from COVID-19.

SES volunteers' incredible Christmas sacrifice

SELFLESS SES volunteers will give up Christmas Day with their families to help man border checkpoints alongside Queensland police, returning to duty today.

Speaking this morning, Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said: "The SES returned today and will scale up in the coming days, as will police from around the state."

About 30 of the emergency services volunteers are expected to be on the Gold Coast by Tuesday and an additional 38 police from around the state are also being sent to the borders moving into next week, Chief Supt. Wheeler said.

SES volunteers will give up Christmas Day with their families to help man border checkpoints alongside Queensland police, returning to duty on Christmas Eve. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
SES volunteers will give up Christmas Day with their families to help man border checkpoints alongside Queensland police, returning to duty on Christmas Eve. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

"This time of year is incredible difficult … we are not only entering the holiday period but we are in the disaster season, we are seeing fires, floods and all of those natural disasters," he said.

Meanwhile, dozens of confused Brisbane residents travelling to the Coast for a day out were left queuing at border checkpoints yesterday after missing the final Queensland exit while travelling south on the M1.

Chief Supt. Wheeler reminded day trippers to take the Stewart Rd exit at Currumbin, to avoid waiting for hours to return to Queensland.

"If you miss exit 95, you will enter NSW and join the queue, which at times will resemble a carpark," he said.

"We saw yesterday hundreds of vehicles make that mistake."

 

Traffic on Wharf St Tweed Heads leading into the Griffith St Coolangatta Queensland border checkpoint. Photo: Jessica Lamb
Traffic on Wharf St Tweed Heads leading into the Griffith St Coolangatta Queensland border checkpoint. Photo: Jessica Lamb

Police are also looking to open a checkpoint at Miles and Duffy streets, Coolangatta and at Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Numinbah Valley, on a reduced- hours basis, in the new year.

"We are doing everything we possibly to make that happen," Chief Supt. Wheeler said.

He said he was "disappointed" members of the public's had been abusing police at checkpoints.

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"If you're frustrated or you're having a bad hair day, do not take it out on police … they are here to help you, they are doing everything they can to get you there.

"Bear in mind a lot of these police were going to have Christmas off … they have been here for 250 days and they have come back to help."

Chief Supt. Wheeler also sent a message to those driving over embankments at Dixon St, Coolangatta to avoid queues: "What I would say people who are sitting in traffic lined up … wishing there were more staff at checkpoints, you can blame those people who aren't doing the right thing because we are now having to divert resources to deal with them."

 

Softer barriers would be erected at Dixon St today. Picture: Scott Powick.
Softer barriers would be erected at Dixon St today. Picture: Scott Powick.

He said softer barriers would be erected at Dixon St today, because the previous barriers dubbed "The Great Wall of Dixon St" divided the Tweed and Coolangatta communities.

Since the borders closed at the Gold Coast on Tuesday, 159 vehicles have been turned away carrying 347 passengers.

There have been 379,000 applications for border passes and people continue to be sent into hotel quarantine, who arrive into Queensland by air.

There have been a number of infringement notices issued to those who have breached home quarantine around the state, including to a Gold Coast resident who took his family to the beach after being warned by police during a compliance check not to leave home.

 

 

 

alexandria.utting@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as SES volunteers incredible Christmas sacrifice