Covid uncertainty creates issues in Outback regions

Published: July 2, 2021

While all Queensland areas – other than Brisbane – will come out of lockdown at 6pm today, the knock-on effects are still being felt.

The uncertainty of the situation in the Sunshine State, and in other jurisdictions across the country, left many travellers simply seeking a place to stop and ‘take it all in’.

The ABC reports that a massive influx of caravans waiting out Covid restrictions had put the squeeze on popular tourist stops.

Caravan parks in towns like Mount Isa report they have no available sites, and a number of unusual overflow areas having to be utilised for the first time in several years. Mount Isa City Council will hold a meeting with caravan park owners next week to manage overflow areas.

With the ‘No Vacancy’ signs being erected across the regions, grey nomads and other travellers have been parking up at highway rest stops in numbers… with some holding up to 20 caravans.

And that’s causing other problems.

The President of the Livestock and Rural Transport Association Gerard Johnson said that trucks are finding it hard to find space to pull up. 

“There’s very limited places where truck drivers can check their loads and rest,” Mr Johnson told the ABC. “Even caravans parking side-by-side instead of taking up the whole area will help.”

Senior Constable Warwick West from Mount Isa Police said there are three types of highway rest areas: motorist, heavy-vehicle, and combined vehicle rest areas.

“They’re usually signed very well, and designed for drivers to manage their fatigue,” Senior Constable West told the ABC. “The legislation doesn’t specifically outline camping overnight in these rest areas.”

However, Senior Constable West said that to park for more than 20 hours in a vehicle rest area may breach regulation.

“Twenty hours is more than enough for drivers to manage their fatigue,” he told the ABC. “Heavy vehicles are exclusively for heavy vehicle areas, and anyone else parking there may be subject to fines.”

  • Have you struggled to find a place to ‘sit out’ the uncertainty? Comment below.
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Iain Burns
1 year ago

Are there similar issues in WA at the border between the NT and Kununurra. Are police allowing people to self isolate for 14 days in their caravans and motorhomes on the WA side of the border or forcing them into hotels?

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