Bizarre reasons Queenslanders fined $800k
QUEENSLANDERS caught flouting strict coronavirus laws have been slapped with hundreds of fines worth over $800,000.
Among those fined were people taking rubbish to the tip, a man on a Tinder date and a wealthy businessman who twice took a helicopter to an island beach for a picnic lunch.
Figures released by Queensland Police yesterday revealed 600 fines - worth around $800,000 - had been handed out to people caught breaching public health directions. However, police revealed they had established a review process to ensure people weren't being unfairly fined. "The QPS has identified that the complexity and regular changes to the directions may have led to confusion for the public, and our officers," the statement said.
"As a result, the QPS has implemented an ongoing process to review the appropriateness of penalty infringment notices issued.
"Where infringements are found to have been issued in error, they will be withdrawn."
Police have carried out 3747 checks on people ordered to quarantine and dropped in on non-essential businesses 5762 times to make sure they remain closed or are complying with restrictions.
The Courier-Mail can reveal a number of people have been fined for taking rubbish to Wirrawong tip, despite the service remaining open to the public.
It is understood those who were fined were told dumping rubbish was not an "essential" journey.
Queenslanders have been instructed to remain at home unless it's for an "essential" purpose such as buying food, obtaining medical help or exercising.
Police are continuing to crack down on those who ignore public health directions as the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to drop.
On Thursday, officers fined a 27-year-old Cairns man who drove to Port Douglas to meet a woman for a Tinder date.
"The dinner date proved costly, with the man not only springing for the takeaway meal, but also for a $1334 fine," police said.
Port Douglas police handed out another six fines on Good Friday after catching a group of people drinking together at the mouth of the Mowbray River.
A Brisbane businessman was fined twice this week after police allegedly caught him picnicking on a beach on Moreton Island.
He was fined $1334 on Monday, and again several days later when police spotted him and his helicopter on the beach for a second time.
A NSW woman appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this week after she too was twice caught ignoring public health directives.
Anna Carter, 45, arrived in Brisbane via train and was ordered to spend a week in quarantine at the Ibis Hotel at Brisbane Airport.
Instead, Ms Carter was twice found in Fortitude Valley.
She told police on the first occasion that she'd left the hotel to find a Band-Aid for a blister on her foot, and the second time because her hotel wasn't providing fresh towels each day.
Carter spent a night in the Brisbane watchhouse before a magistrate fined her $2000.
"The whole community is rightly concerned about the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic," Magistrate Stephen Courtney said.
"The potential for death and illness in Queensland is well demonstrated by what has occurred overseas."
People were warned to stay away from the beaches and not to travel to their holiday homes over the Easter break.
Police monitored ferries and warned people that they would be fined if they were caught holidaying on any of Brisbane's islands.
On Stradbroke Island, police had to step in after tensions erupted between locals and people they believed were visiting holiday homes.
People who arrived on the island before March 26 are allowed to stay, while those who arrived after without a valid reason will be asked to return home.
Police said that reports of intimidation, verbal abuse and refusal of service were "disappointing".
Police have now intercepted more than 76,000 vehicles at state borders amid travel restrictions, 1457 of which were turned around.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday congratulated Queenslanders who had been taking the restrictions seriously, saying their efforts were bringing COVID-19 cases down.
Originally published as Bizarre reasons Queenslanders fined $800k