Late scramble to border
Kununurra police were deployed to the State border on Tuesday as WA shut itself off to the rest of the nation to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Mark McGowan announced on Sunday evening the border would shut at 1.30pm on Tuesday, with a 14-day mandatory self-isolation period for all visitors from that point.
Visitors would still be able to enter the State after the closure but would risk a maximum $50,000 fine or face up to 12 months jail for not complying.
Kununurra is the closest town to the WA border, about 60km from the NT.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said on Sunday people driving home may be quarantined in Kununurra if they did not meet the deadline.
A handful of people who crossed the border told the Kimberley Echo they had been forced to cut trips or family visits short.
Kununurra woman Alana Hunt, who made it through about midday on Tuesday, said she was worried her family and friends in the Jilkminggan community would not be able to access food and essential supplies.
“We’ve been taking a lot of vulnerable people in our family out of town and into our community for the last few days and locking it to keep people safe,” she said.
“It’s a bit confusing because our community is on the NT side by a matter of metres, our fence line is the borderline, but all of our supplies come half an hour away from Kununurra, not the NT.
“To try and get specifics and a system in place has been really hard. I don’t think we’ll be cut off on compassionate grounds, but how that’s going to happen hasn’t been communicated very clearly.”
Queensland couple Liz and Archie McKenzie, who had been working in Perth for six years, drove all day on Monday from Broome to try to make it home before the Queensland border closed at midnight on Wednesday local time.
“We decided to come up north and make a bit of a trip heading home, but with the borders closing we had to hurry up,” Mrs McKenzie said.
“We’re not worried about contracting it personally but we are conscious of not exposing people who might be concerned about it.”
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