Travellers bombarding Vic border crossings

Karen Sweeney
·1-min read

Victoria Police have stood by their decision to let travellers from NSW back into Victoria without checking permits as a way of reducing other risks on the roads.

Border crossings were bombarded with a huge volume of traffic after changes to border rules were announced by the state government on Thursday afternoon.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said by 8pm officers were concerned by the backlog and delay with traffic down to one lane and people waiting four hours or more to be cleared for the border.

Victoria's health controller approved opening up extra lanes, and allowing Victorian registered cars and cars with caravans and boats pass through the checkpoint without showing permits.

Mr Nugent said it was a risk, but mitigated by what they had learned from checking permits.

"When it's really clear it's a holidaymaker - Victorian plates, a whole family - the risk is really low," Mr Nugent said.

"The concern was for the people stuck and the anxiety and stress and wellbeing of people there - those delays would have been significantly longer if we didn't do that."

Checkpoint delays on Friday were down to 15 minutes, he said.

Police at checkpoints had also stepped up to help manage delays, with night shift workers starting duties earlier and those on the afternoon shift staying late to help get through more cars.

Travellers have until 11.59pm on Friday to cross the border before the hard restrictions come into force - meaning people will either be turned away or forced into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Mr Nugent said a police car would go to the end of all border queues at midnight. Anyone already in line would be considered as having entered Victoria by the deadline.