Carpentaria pushes for state approval for shire closure

Carpentaria reiterates need for ongoing shire road closure


After a week in operation, the Carpentaria Shire Council has moved to address concerns arising from its closure of all roads into and out of the shire.


After a week in operation, the Carpentaria Shire Council has moved to address concerns arising from its closure of all roads into and out of the shire.

Apart from keeping the road connecting Normanton and Karumba open, the Local Disaster Management Group took the decision to restrict the movement of non-essential persons into the shire to reduce the risk of an outbreak or spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the shire.

Acknowledging the importance of continuing travel for some essential needs, the group put in place a travel permit application form, which would require approval for travel and to ensure accurate records could be kept.

There are separate forms for air and road travel requests, on which people list their destination, where they came from and their purpose of travel.

It came into force on Monday and shire CEO Mark Crawley said that in three days, council staff had processed 85 applications.

"The reasons given have been all pretty essential, medical appointments, going home or getting to work," he said. "There were some on the road that didn't know about it that were turned around, and we still have tourists trying to get into the area."

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Mr Crawley said that with north west, central west, south west and Cape health districts being free of any confirmed COVID-19 case at this stage, they were focused on maintaining that, especially as the shire wasn't yet classified as a Discrete Indigenous Community.

"We have made a formal request to be included as a Discrete Indigenous Community, so...additional formal restrictions can be applied," he said. "Until declared we are subject to the same provisions of other regional towns that are not formally permitted to close their borders."

As such Queensland Police isn't able to issue formal fines for travel within the shire, nor formally restrict people from entering the town through legislation.

However, local police are working closely with the council to assist with the closure as best they can within their legislative control.

Council has dedicated its local laws compliance officer to monitor incoming roads and that person is spending late nights and early mornings monitoring movements and, where possible, advising visitors without appropriate permits to leave.

Returned mayor Jack Bawden said they understood it was frustrating but wanted to assure the community they were doing everything within their legislative controls and above to try and support the towns during this time.

"A majority of people are doing the right thing and conforming to the current rules in place, however there are those who are not and so we will continue to push the state for legislative control of our towns and the shire," he said.

"We would like to thank everyone doing the right thing and ask those not following the process we have put in place to remember the devastating effect you could have on the people in our small shire".

Council has variable messaging signs at Julia Creek on the Sedan Dip Road and at Croydon on the Gulf Development Road.

The road open/closure signage on the Burke Development Road at Cloncurry also indicates the road closure to Normanton from that area.


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