8 January 2021

Canberra MLA fined $1,000 for COVID-19 breach

| Dominic Giannini
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Mark Parton has been fined for “unwittingly” breaching COVID-19 restrictions in WA. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Brindabella MLA Mark Parton has been fined $1,000 for breaching COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in Western Australia.

According to WA media, he has been issued the fine after “unwittingly” failing to mention he had been to Queanbeyan within 14 days of visiting WA.

WA has banned entry to people who have been to NSW without an exemption or have not been in quarantine for 14 days.

Canberra is classified as a “very low risk” location meaning Canberrans can enter WA without an exemption or requiring mandatory quarantine, providing they have not crossed the border in the previous fortnight.

However, Mr Parton called the Queanbeyan races on Boxing Day before flying to WA on Monday, 4 January.

Yesterday, he explained that “it simply hadn’t occurred to me that I had ‘travelled to NSW’ when I flew into WA this week”.

“Queanbeyan is just 10kms from my house and at the end of the day, I tend to consider it as a suburb of Canberra,” he wrote on Facebook.

“The crazy thing is that we cancelled New Years plans in Sydney to enable my WA travel. I feel pretty stupid. I take COVID very seriously and am very sorry for this oversight.”

When his breach was brought to his attention two days after arriving in WA, he immediately commenced quarantine and contacted local authorities.

Breaching WA’s entry conditions by providing false or misleading information can result in fines of up to $50,000 or imprisonment.

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I am now in SA and I was conscious of the need not to go to NSW even for a short trip and that meant not going to places like Queanbeyan.
Covid and travel to Queanbeyan for ACT residents (and visa versa) has been talked about endlessly on social media over the last 9 months.
Those that live cross border and work here have made this a constant issue that the govt has had to address since the start of Covid..
How could you forget Queanbeyan is in NSW and that travelling there wouldn’t be an issue.

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