Caravanners refused entry to WA despite having pass

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Grey nomads refused entry to Western Australia
Paul Maddison and his partner, Kate Sullivan, were turned back at the WA border. PIC: Paul Maddison / ABC

The Western Australian borders remain firmly shut and it seems that even those with ‘exempt traveller’ status – including some returning grey nomads – are being refused entry to the state.

Paul Maddison, who is originally from Albany, has been travelling and working around Australia with his partner Kate Sullivan for the past two years.

The ABC reports that the pair paused in Katherine in the NT where they went through the stringent application process for getting their ‘G2G pass’ and were delighted when they were given the green light to return ‘home’.

Supporting statements had outlined their plan to get farm work in Western Australia while making their way back to their home town on the south coast. The pair said they further provided evidence of their WA drivers’ licences, a storage locker in WA containing their belongings, and WA-registered vehicles.

Having been approved, they hitched up their caravan and took the 500-kilometre drive to the Kununurra border checkpoint … and that’s when things started to go wrong.

They showed their G2G pass and supporting documents to the police at the border and were refused entry to the state.

“They basically said that we didn’t fit any of the exemptions and that we didn’t need to come into the state,” Paul told the ABC. “We were absolutely dumbfounded … to think that one or two people can make a decision like that in less than five seconds, I was appalled, but you can’t argue.”

He said the hardest point was grappling with why they were approved in the first place.

You’ve got to accept the umpire’s decision, turn around and make other plans,” Paul said. “Driving all the way through the centre of Australia, and then coming around toward Katherine and applying and getting accepted, and then being denied 500 kilometres down the road was unbelievable.”

Paul and Kate headed 200 kilometres back to Timber Creek where they stayed for three days before recouping and figuring out a new plan to live and work in South Australia until they could return to WA. They say the system needs to be urgently changed so that eligibility to enter is more clear and there are no longer inconsistencies between pass approvals and what happens at the border.

The ABC contacted several people with similar stories who were turned away at the border despite having an approved G2G application.

Fiona McDonald, the owner of the Timber Creek Hotel, said she had come across more than 50 people with a similar story since September.

“It seems that the left hand isn’t talking to the right,” she said.

In a statement, WA Police said it would not comment on individual cases. However, a spokesman said there had been instances when information provided by travellers in response to police questioning was different to that provided in their initial G2G pass application.

  • Have you been refused entry to WA after having a G2G pass approved? Of have you successfully got back into the state? Comment below.
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10 Responses to Caravanners refused entry to WA despite having pass

  1. WA is now an independent country and should be treated as such. No more help from the Commonwealth including their share of the GST bounty.

    • And no more putting into GST coffers or mining royalties to the commonwealth then either hey???….

      • Very good point Jeff Taylor, totally agree.
        Interesting also that the response from the police in this article is totally invisible to most readers. Amazing how folks will believe a journalist story but not realize that some border applicants actually tell porkies on their applications and then scream when caught out by the authorities.

        • My dad got a border pass into Qld to stay with my sister. The pass had her address on it & was approved. When it came time for my sister to take him home over the border her pass was denied. When she rang Qld health they couldn’t even tell her why it was that he could come over the border to her place but she couldn’t take him back. It was very upsetting for my dad who is 89 & lost my mum 6mths ago. The border closures are a debacle

    • You do realise WA contributes the majority of GST?

  2. Sue them and send them the F *** travel bill, this is getting absolutely crazy in this country, cut of all federal support including all the other Dumb ass states that keep the borders closed, let them pay for the folks that have lost a job due to all of this, what a bloody joke this place has become.

    • Because your state did such a good job managing it I presume??

  3. ” Been there done that”. At Eucla, in July after receiving an exemption on compassionate grounds, I was given an option of driving straight to Perth within 36 hours and booking into quarantine for 14 days. As a solo traveller I deemed it too dangerous trying to meet their demands and returned to Ceduna. Then into NSW, after 2months, still with no Covid symptoms.

  4. WA who cares
    There is so much more to see and do on east coast.
    NT too is a far better place to visit than WA

  5. The WA premier is as stupid as the Victorian and Qld premiers, they govern by fear, it’s the old story of “you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Sooner or later the majority of people are going to wake up to this scaremongering, that these egomaniacs only had one thing on their minds when they imposed these draconian laws for this pandemic in Australia. And please do not tell me how they have prevented a European or American style outbreak, that was never going to happen in Australia once we closed the international borders.

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