Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan raised concerns about passengers arriving to the region on a Jetstar flight yesterday afternoon
Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan raised concerns about passengers arriving to the region on a Jetstar flight yesterday afternoon

Explained: Border control at Whitsunday Coast Airport

WHITSUNDAY Coast Airport has addressed concerns raised about travellers landing in the Whitsundays after borders were closed, saying all passengers are being screen by Queensland Police before they are allowed to exit the terminal.

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan raised concerns about passengers arriving to the region on a Jetstar flight on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Costigan said even despite police presence, the flight should not have been allowed to land.

"I thought the border was closed, so who are these people and why are they travelling here?" he said.

"You can't tell me everyone off that plane was an essential worker being deployed into the community.

"That plane should have been turned around…no passengers should have disembarked."

Mr Costigan said residents returning to the Whitsundays had "missed their opportunity" and should have made plans to return prior to the border closure.

He was also sceptical as to whether police directive to self-quarantine would be obeyed by people entering the state.

"If you believe everyone is going to be self-isolating to the letter of the law, then you believe in the tooth fairy," he said.

"It's uncontrollable, we're kidding ourselves if we believe we've got people keeping an eye on these (returned travellers)."

Mr Costigan said the community was "scarred" after a British tourist was found on Hamilton Island after testing positive to coronavirus in New South Wales.

Mr Costigan is calling for a quarantine facility to be set up in North Queensland to help curb the spread of the virus.

Whitsunday Coast Airport marketing manager Craig Turner said passengers on flights that landed after the border closure on Thursday evening were subjected to strict entry requirements.

"Police have set up an area at the airport and they are screening, interviewing and assessing all arriving passengers from interstate," he said.

"Those that are deemed to be travelling for essential travel as determined by police are then told they need to go into 14-day isolation.

"Police are taking their phone number and address.

"For those that are arriving with sunscreen and zinc and it's not deemed essential travel, they are put on the plane and sent home."

Mr Turner said the Whitsunday Coast Airport were not involved in the process and that Queensland Police were under directive from the Queensland Government.

According to the Queensland Government, 'anyone who arrives in Queensland (via air, sea, rail or road) from another state or territory from 26 March 2020 must self-quarantine for 14 days, unless they are an "exempt person"'.

Exempt persons are those who provide critical services including national or state security, essential health services, emergency services, transport of goods or freight including food, critical maintenance or repair to critical Queensland infrastructure, construction, mining, energy or agribusiness workers as well as federal, state or local government workers who are required to enter to Queensland to perform official duties.

Even if a person is an exempt person, they must self-quarantine if they have travelled in the last 14 days to particular areas of Australia.

Queensland also allows people to enter on general compassionate grounds exemption if they are carers or relatives of dependant individuals in Queensland, need to obtain essential medical treatment including visiting terminally ill relatives in Queensland, are interstate boarding school students where school is closed or are required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland (for example, Family Court, parole/bail conditions).