Future Border Lockdown
Future Border Lockdown

‘How do we work?’: Copper conundrum over border

POLICE on the New South Wales side of the Queensland borderline fear how they'll cope if up to 80 of their officers who live on the Gold Coast are blocked by a hard border closure.

The copper conundrum is rearing its head on the Gold Coast, as officers both sides of the border scramble to figure out a plan for a hard closure.

The Bulletin has learnt contingency plans are being organised for a hard border closure scenario by both New South Wales and Queensland police, who have officers from both forces living out of state. It's considered a when not if scenario.The planning comes amid another 18 cases yesterday in New South Wales, where new infections continue to climb with no known source.

There were no new cases announced in Queensland on Wednesday.

Authorities patrolling the Queensland-New South Wales border. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Authorities patrolling the Queensland-New South Wales border. Picture: Nigel Hallett

It's understood upwards of 80 serving New South Wales officers live on the Gold Coast, while between 60 and 70 Queensland cops live south of the border in NSW.

And if Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young's warning on Monday to people living and working either side of the border is to be believed, those officers could become stuck.

"I think every single person who lives in any of those border communities in either Queensland or NSW needs to think what will I do, what will my family do if the border closes because there are cases spreading north from Sydney," she said.

A police officer at the border blockade gestures to traffic. Picture: Nigel Hallett
A police officer at the border blockade gestures to traffic. Picture: Nigel Hallett

A source within New South Wales police told the Bulletin the border closure would cause all sorts of headaches across the border.

"We're heavily impacted by the border, if there's a hard closure, we've got about 80 police that live on the Coast, how do we work?" they said.

"Currently you've got the bubble that is halfway through our police district, so we've got cops living in Queensland, who can't go past the Tweed shire.

"You can't expect police living in Queensland to leave their families behind. If they do a hard border closure, where do we get 80 cops from?"

It's understood a lot of NSW resources that could have been used to cover the Tweed have been pushed down to the Victorian border.

A border checkpoint at Miles St, Coolangatta. Picture: Glenn Hampson
A border checkpoint at Miles St, Coolangatta. Picture: Glenn Hampson

NSW police declined to comment on the resourcing and border issues.

It's understood there are between 60 and 70 Queensland Police officers who live over the border, with contingency planning currently under way to figure out what to do with those officers if there is a hard border closure.


 

Queensland Health also did not answer questions about whether officers would receive exemptions to go and work over the border, although they said they currently cannot travel out of the bubble.

 

BULLETIN VIEW: MORE NIMBLE APPROACH NEEDED

 

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and decisions are based on the latest health advice," a Queensland Health spokesman said.

"Officers who live and work within the border zone can travel freely between New South Wales and Queensland within the border zone, provided they do not leave the border zone, or have been in a COVID-19 hotspot outside the border zone."

Originally published as 'How do we work?': Copper conundrum over border