10,000 cars stopped at checkpoint in first week

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Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Yarloop police officer Joe Dainty and Australian Navy petty officer Aaron Robinson are on night patrol at the South West and Peel regional border to stop unnecessary travellers.
Camera IconYarloop police officer Joe Dainty and Australian Navy petty officer Aaron Robinson are on night patrol at the South West and Peel regional border to stop unnecessary travellers. Credit: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter/Briana Fiore

It has been two weeks since strict regional boundary checkpoints were set up along the South West and Peel borders, barring all non-essential travel.

The stringent barriers target travellers who are not adhering to the State Government’s firm new laws. Anyone attempting to cross a regional boundary without a valid excuse can now cop a hefty fine for showing ‘carelessness in the face of a global emergency’ and putting regional communities at risk.

Police are manning the checkpoints, with the help of the Australian Defence Force and the SES. One of the checkpoints is set up on Forrest Highway, the other on South Western Highway in Wagerup.

Yarloop Sgt Wayne Byram has been stationed at the Wagerup checkpoint and said the majority of commuters were doing the right thing.

When Sgt Byram spoke to the Harvey-Waroona Reporter, he said 10,000 vehicles had been screened at the South Western Highway checkpoint. He said only 70 of them were deemed as non-essential and consequently turned around.

“Some people are clearly unaware of how serious this is,” Sgt Byram said.

“By listening to the Government advice and staying home, you are contributing to the greater safety of your community.

“By travelling for non-essential reasons, not only do you heighten the risk for everyone, you may potentially receive an infringement.”

He said he had received some questionable responses as to why people were attempting to cross the boundary.

Now is not the time for pony club lessons, collecting firewood, going for a coffee or going fishing and camping.

Sgt Byram

“While it may be a temporary inconvenience, adhering to the rules will help keep you and your loved ones safe.”

He said every driver was being asked to prove why they were crossing the boundary and said they must have evidence for an exemption.

“Travelling to and from work, caring for a family member and accessing food or medicine are all reasons you can cross the boundary.

“We want to try and educate people on their responsibility in this pandemic, it rests with everyone to do the right thing for themselves, their families and the wider communities.”

Premier Mark McGowan thanked police, Australian Defence Force members and SES volunteers for their efforts at the border checkpoints.

“A couple of weeks ago, if you had said we’d need regional checkpoints, people would have said that was an overreaction and unnecessary, but today here we are,” Mr McGowan said.

There are 30 regional road checkpoints in WA.

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