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Angler's fishing rod hunt lands him $4000 fine, two weeks' quarantine

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A Brisbane man who popped over the border into NSW on a quest for a fishing rod may be rueing his costly Father’s Day jaunt after being hit with a $4000 fine, the cost of flights to return to Queensland and two weeks in hotel quarantine.

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Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said the man drove from Brisbane to Tweed Heads to purchase a fishing rod, and then tried to drive back to Queensland.

However, the man was not entitled to a border zone resident pass, which meant he was unable to drive back into the state under strict border controls in place since 8 August.

Under the border rules, to return to Queensland and not to have to go into quarantine, the man instead needed to fly back into the state.

Police allege the man was turned around at a road border check, but then tried to cross again at another checkpoint with a false pass.

He was again turned around and issued with a COVID infringement notice.

“It’s a very expensive fishing rod unfortunately for that gentleman,” Wheeler said.

He said three COVID infringement notices were issued at border crossings on Sunday.

“There’s people who think the rules don’t apply to them,” Wheeler told ABC radio.

“It’s incredibly expensive for them, it’s incredibly inconvenient for them and to try to do something like driving interstate just to purchase a fishing rod and then thinking you can come back in, it’s unfortunate for that person, but the rules are there for a reason and that’s to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to Queensland.”

Wheeler said since the hard Queensland border closure on 8 August, police have refused entry to almost 3500 people.

“There are those people who just try and game the system and they pay a very, very high price,” Wheeler said.

The weekend incident came after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday she refused to be “intimidated” into removing the hard border with NSW.

Queensland recorded two new cases of COVID-19 overnight, to take the number of active cases to 25 on Monday afternoon. The latest cases were another nurse at Ipswich Hospital – five staff have now been infected, either from working with coronavirus patients or being in contact with those who had – and a young woman who lived with a known case.

Victoria has reported 41 new coronavirus cases and nine further deaths, the state’s health department says.

The rise in cases is the state’s lowest single-day increase in more than 10 weeks, when 41 new cases were reported on June 27.

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