Outsiders sneaking onto locked-down Straddie

THREE hundred people have applied to change their address to North Stradbroke Island to dodge strict travel bans on the tourist mecca.

The island has been subject to a travel ban imposed by Redland City Council since March 24, the move was bolstered yesterday when the Queensland Government imposed stricter measures.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said she had written to Transport Minister Mark Bailey asking him to close a loophole being exploited by hundreds to get around a travel ban to North Stradbroke Island.

 

"It kind of blows your mind that people would go to these lengths in a pandemic," Cr Williams said.

Outsiders are so desperate to access Stradbroke Island they are changing the address on their licence so police will allow them onto the locked-down island which is home to large indigenous and elderly populations, especially at risk of serious effects of COVID-19.
Outsiders are so desperate to access Stradbroke Island they are changing the address on their licence so police will allow them onto the locked-down island which is home to large indigenous and elderly populations, especially at risk of serious effects of COVID-19.

Cr Williams said that since a travel ban to North Stradbroke Island prohibiting non-essential travel by anyone not a permanent resident, 300 applications had been received by people wanting to change their address to Straddie on their drivers license.

"While some of these applications may be genuine, with so many in just over a week it is clear some are trying to find a loophole by claiming they permanently live on the island," Mayor Williams said.

She said some of the applications might have been made by people who owned holiday homes on the Island.

Some 300 people have applied to change their address to North Stradbroke Island to avoid COVID-19 travel restrictions. Picture: AAP /Darren England
Some 300 people have applied to change their address to North Stradbroke Island to avoid COVID-19 travel restrictions. Picture: AAP /Darren England

"People may think they are finding a way around the system, but they are only find ways to put others at risk and so I have asked the Minister to temporarily put on hold any applications to change drivers licence addresses to North Stradbroke Island."

Cr Williams said the Redland City Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) had requested non-essential travel be banned to all Redland City Islands, which includes North Stradbroke, in recognition of the aged communities open those islands.

"This travel ban is necessary to protect the vulnerable community and I would ask people to respect that, including our other islands where there is currently no travel ban but equally vulnerable communities," she said.

"I have been contacted by a number of people who have holiday homes on islands asking if they can travel over there for Easter - the answer is no and now it seems some are trying to game the system to get the answer they want.

"I realise this travel ban will be inconvenient for those with holiday homes on the island, but right now the health of the community must take priority of the recreation of some and I make no apology for that."

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police were aware of people wanting to change their addresses.

"Can we just ask people to do the right thing and remember what we're trying to achieve here," he said.

"They'll (those wanting to change their address) probably find that they'll have to worry less about us (police) than the locals over there who might know that they're gaming the system."

Originally published as Ban loophole: Outsiders sneaking onto locked-down Straddie


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