Stanage Bay Backpackers breach tough COVID-19 rules
UPDATE, 5.20PM: A group of backpackers in clear breach of strict social distancing restrictions have moved on.
It was reported earlier today that up to eight people, believed to be international travellers, pulled up at a beach side camp site in Stanage Bay Wednesday Morning.
Stanage Bay Fishing Accommodation this afternoon confirmed the group has since vacated the site.
"It's back to as normal as Stanage gets, the backpackers left this afternoon without being asked again, look at that they must have found a new residence to head to, seeing as there was no work available here."
QPS had yet to attend the scene and the travellers did not receive an infringement for breaching the regulations.
INITIAL, 1PM: Government advice is clear - Stay at home this Easter.
But four campers rolled into the remote Central Queensland fishing community of Stanage Bay yesterday much to the disgust of some residents.
A local business owner said the troop of about eight people, who he believed were international backpackers, pulled up at a beach side camp site yesterday morning.
He asked them to leave as he was concerned for the health of the ageing community at Stanage Bay, but more than 24 hours later, the campers remained.
"I'm not trying to be nasty, but everyone needs to follow the rules - we've already taken a big hit with all the businesses having to close," the business owner said.
"These visitors are not supposed to be on the road unless for a specific purpose (like) looking for work as has been suggested.
"It is a round trip of 200km off the Bruce Highway to get to Stanage.
"Stanage has two shops, one not currently operating at all and the other unable to open their bar and with all the accommodation closed, not good job prospects in any business for new employees.
"This is not the people of Stanage that made or enforce these rules, these are rules set to try to save our health and our lives during this unforeseen debacle."
When the news broke on a Facebook post, locals and tourists alike were far from pleased.
"We booked to be up there now, cancelled our trip because right thing to do," one person commented.
"That's very unfair and very irresponsible. Let's hope they don't infect the beautiful place that it is," another said.
Others showed more tolerance for the plight of the travellers.
"If they are in fact travellers maybe their vehicles are their homes? Not sure what they are supposed to do if they are genuinely travelling around Australia on holidays," a commenter said.
"I feel for these backpackers as well. They are travelling our beautiful country and generally have very limited funds hence relying on free camping, and now with all the campgrounds in Queensland closed … it extremely difficult for them," said another.
Due to the remoteness of the location, police have spent the day getting to the site to assess the situation.
The situation, despite its uniqueness, does raise questions regarding where travelling backpackers who live out of their cars are supposed to go, considering campgrounds across the state have been closed.
However, a spokeswoman from Health Minister Steven Miles' office said the non-essential travel rules do apply to backpackers as they do everyone else.
As for the travellers in Stanage Bay, she said it was their responsibility to find accommodation and stay there until restrictions are lifted.