Local News - Victoria

Parents who took children to park that was more than five kilometres from their home among 276 people fined by Victoria Police for breaching lockdown restrictions

Police have fined 276 people – the highest number of penalties in a fortnight – for breaching Melbourne’s coronavirus restrictions.

A couple visiting a playground more than five kilometres from their home because they were “sick of walking around their local area” with their children are among the latest to receive a penalty.

Victoria Police and ADF personnel patrolling Melbourne CBD during the stage four COVID-19 lockdown.

Victoria Police and ADF personnel patrolling Melbourne CBD during the stage four COVID-19 lockdown. Credit:Eddie Jim

The man and woman travelled to Wyndham in Melbourne’s outer west with their children, police said.

Other people fined for breaching stage four rules included a man crossing Edgevale Road in Kew, in Melbourne’s inner east, on Sunday evening. He was stopped by police and stated he was just getting cigarettes, despite being aware of the curfew.

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Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary fined $20,000 for NRL referee criticism

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has been fined $20,000 by the NRL for questioning the integrity of referees after the Panthers’ win over Canberra on Saturday.

Cleary said he felt like the referees “managed” the Raiders back into the game after the table-topping Panthers scored four unanswered tries early in the match, before the Raiders hit back with two in the second half.

Despite winning 28-12, Cleary was unimpressed by the match officials.

“It felt like they were being managed back into the game,” Cleary said.

“That’s all I can say. Some really strange calls.”

Australian Rugby League commissioner Peter V’landys described Cleary’s comments as “deplorable” to AAP and promised a “financial deterrent”.

“You can’t question people’s integrity, no matter what,” he said.

“This was straight to the integrity of the referee. To say he managed it to bring the other team in is deplorable.

“If anyone thinks the NRL is going to tolerate their employees being abused like that, they’ve got something coming.”

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said he was “disappointed” in Cleary.

“Our leaders should be professional and set the standard for our game. Comments like this will not be tolerated. The foundation of our competition is its integrity and Ivan’s comments undermined that,” Abdo said.

“At times our officials, like players, will make errors during games. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on those individual decisions, but we will not accept the integrity of our officials being questioned.

“Every Monday, we live stream a football briefing explaining every contentious decision. Our officiating is as open and transparent as it can possibly be.”

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South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett fined $20,000 for breaching NRL’s coronavirus protocols

South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett has been fined $20,000 by the NRL for breaching the league’s COVID-19 biosecurity protocols.

Bennett had already been stood down for two weeks by the NRL after it was revealed on Thursday he and his partner had lunch at a restaurant in the inner-west Sydney suburb of Leichhardt.

Under the NRL’s rules, players and staff members of each club are not allowed to attend public venues like pubs, clubs, restaurants or cafes.

Meanwhile, St George Illawarra’s Paul Vaughan was handed a $10,000 sanction for having breakfast at a cafe.

Brisbane Broncos legend and assistant coach Allan Langer has also been fined $5,000 for transgressing the NRL’s rules.

Broncos strength and conditioning coach Ryan Whitley and head of rehab Blake Duncan, who both attended a private function with Langer in Brisbane, were fined the same amount.

“Strict adherence to our biosecurity protocols are vitally important,” acting NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

“It is important everyone within club bubbles follows the protocols, not only so the season continues, but to ensure no risk to the general community.”

Bennett, who missed the Rabbitohs’ match against the Broncos on Friday evening, suggested on Thursday he could not keep up with the NRL’s rules after players were forced back into a tighter bubble last month.

But Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said there could be no confusion over the NRL’s biosecurity measures, and the whole game’s future was at stake.

“Everyone understands the rules and everybody is consistently made aware of it,” he said.

“But we can’t. They are just tough times at the moment. But under tough times you find out the true character of people.

“It’s a multi-million dollar business at stake here. We’ve got to be mindful of that.”

Paul Vaughan grounds the ball with his right hand. A Titans player is holding onto his left arm. A referee watches on closely.
Dragons forward Paul Vaughan offered no excuse for his breach of NRL protocols.(AAP: Steve Christo)

Vaughan’s transgression ruled him out of the Dragons’ Thursday night match against the Sydney Roosters in Wollongong.

Before being fined by the NRL, Vaughan admitted there was no excuse for players breaching biosecurity protocols.

“Everyone within the Dragons bubble, including myself, are well aware of the protocols in place,” Vaughan said.

“I’m sorry for the harm my actions have caused to the club and my teammates.”

The Broncos confirmed on Friday afternoon that Langer, Whitley and Duncan would be placed on “COVID Holds”.

They did not travel to Sydney for the match against the Rabbitohs and will undergo testing before returning to the club’s “Project Apollo” bubble.


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Man fined for breaching curfew to ‘feed uncle’s horses’

A Melbourne man has been fined by police for breaching curfew to feed some horses.

The excuse was one of the most notable of the night, police said.

The pre-dawn horsing around was one of 196 fines issued in the last 24 hours to Victorians due to the stage four COVID-19 lockdowns.

Of those, a quarter were for not wearing face masks in public and 43 for breaching the 8pm to 5am curfew.

Police conducted 17,682 vehicle checks and 4418 spot checks on homes on Thursday and into Friday.

Victoria Police said they fined the man $1652 after he was stopped in the council area of Maroondah at 3.40am on Friday and claimed “he was out to feed his uncle’s horses”.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

At 9.30pm last night a man was fined on his way to buy cigarettes. A knife was also found in the car.

At the same time, a man and a woman were fined driving the short stretch between Fawkner and Dallas in the city’s north to get a pizza, they said, “as the pizza shop wouldn’t deliver”.

A man was $1652 last weekend after he drove from Melbourne to the border town of Wodonga, claiming to be on a Macca’s run “for a Big Mac”.

At the time Police Minister Lisa Neville hit out at the “appalling behaviour” of some rule breakers.

“Can I be really clear, just in case there is any doubt at all, that there is absolutely no reason or need to drive from Melbourne to Wodonga to have a Big Mac,” she said.

“There is absolutely no reason or need to drive from Melbourne to Ballarat for fresh air. There is absolutely no reason to drive from Werribee out to Springvale to buy groceries.

“Why would people think that is OK? They don’t care, it can’t be because people aren’t aware of the rules.”

RELATED: Victoria’s new lockdown rules explained

Police today also arrested two men following an investigation into the anti-lockdown protest due to take place in Sunday, in breach of the chief health officer’s directions.

Two search warrants were executed yesterday evening in Mooroolbark and Chirnside Park, where police seized mobile phones and a computer.

A 41-year-old male from Mooroolbark was charged with incitement. He was bailed and is due to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 21 January, 2021.

A 41-year-old man from Chirnside Park was also arrested last night and is expected to be charged later today with the same offences.

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Watsons Bay Hotel fined for social distancing breach

Sydney’s iconic Watsons Bay Hotel has copped a hefty fine after it was caught not following social distancing rules properly.

The eastern suburbs pub was hit with a $5000 infringement after authorities conducted a spot check and noticed it had failed to create a safe environment for customers on Friday night.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates here

Patrons were standing and drinking and gaming machines were not spaced out, according to Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Undercover officers attended the hotel on July 31 and observed that all gaming machines were operational — meaning there was no way there could be 1.5m between gaming machines.

This was contrary to the venue’s COVID Safety Plan, which stated “every second machine has been disabled in the gaming room”.

Patrons were also sighted seated less than 1.5m apart.

Acting Director of Compliance for Liquor and Gaming NSW Dimitri Argeres said 15 venues had been fined in the past three weeks.

“While most venues are making serious efforts to comply with all the conditions, it’s disappointing that some are simply not getting the message,” Mr Argeres said.

“Flouting these measures is not only bad for the health and safety of patrons; it’s also bad for business.”

It’s not the only place struggling to adhere to social distancing; yesterday images emerged of packed trains and platforms at Town Hall station.

One image showed a carriage of passengers crammed together on a service to Bondi Junction — an area near Potts Point, a COVID-19 hotspot.

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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne person fined after driving 320km for a Big Mac

“Why would people think that is OK? I think there is no question when Victoria Police pull people over they are aware of the rules but have made a decision to blatantly breach the Chief Health Officer’s directives,” she said.

“If you are thinking of using back roads or getting around these walls, Victoria Police will be there.”

People have also been caught partying at Airbnbs on Franklin Street in the CBD and on Dudley Street in West Melbourne.

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville.

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville.Credit:Jason South

Ten people were fined at the West Melbourne address at 11pm after police received noise complaints, with two people found hiding in a bathroom when officers arrived.

At 2am on Saturday, five people in a short-stay apartment on Franklin Street received $1652 fines, with “some attempting to avoid police detection by hiding in a closet”, according to a Victoria Police spokeswoman.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said police members will continue to man arterial checkpoints at 2am in freezing conditions because of a group of “blatantly selfish” individuals.

“What we’re seeing is too many individuals who are going about their lives as if this pandemic doesn’t exist,” he said.

“We don’t want to be giving out fines for these sorts of things. There’s a whole heap of activities we’d rather be doing, like engaging with and working with the community to keep them safe.”

Eighteen of the infringements in the last 24 hours were for those stopped at vehicle checkpoints. More than 24,761 checks have been completed by Victoria Police checkpoints on arterial roads.


Other examples of breaches from the last day include a man who travelled from Bentleigh East to Sunbury for his favourite take-away food, and another man who travelled from Thornbury to Werribee to get a haircut from his favourite barber.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the government was considering hiking up penalties for breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions.

“There are significant penalties and we are looking at whether we need to change any of those penalties,” he said on Saturday.

“There are options available to us whether it be on the spot fines versus finding people through the courts, that is a much bigger fine, but there is a balance to be struck there and we will find that balance.”

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Melbourne woman fined for not wearing a mask storms police station

Another Melbourne woman has filmed herself on an anti-mask crusade, confronting the police officers who attempted to fine her for the public health breach.

Chantal Watergate was taken into police custody for questioning last week after she refused to provide officers with her name and address when they saw her not wearing a mask in public.

Victorians living in the state’s locked down regions have faced fines of $200 since July 23 if they refuse to wear a mask.

RELATED: Follow our coronavirus live updates

RELATED: Anti-maskers’ script revealed

Taking to Facebook to livestream her visit to Dandenong Police Station, in Melbourne’s southeast, Ms Watergate said she was handcuffed and taken into a holding cell on Friday while police searched her bag for identification.

“They took my identification without my consent, so I am about to serve them some paperwork,” Ms Watergate said.

“I’m hoping to just get my name off their records, that’s the outcome I want today. I’m not interested in suing at this stage but maybe we can look at that later.”

Ms Watergate was joined by “pandemic” lawyer Peter Little, who wore a balaclava to the police station.

“I‘m serving them with a statutory declaration on my chronological order of the events of the 45 minutes of where it all took place, followed up by a notice of prohibition,” she said.

Ms Watergate claimed she was exempt from wearing a mask because she had bad asthma but her paperwork didn’t state that explicitly.

“I have a black mould issue in my apartment and to get out of my lease I needed to go get a certificate from my GP to say that I have asthma,” she told Facebook.

“I had that documentation in my phone and it was not accepted because on the certificate it did not state that it was going to affect my ability to wear a mask.”

Her paperwork wasn’t accepted by the officers and she was instead taken in for questioning.

“He has no right to dictate what my medical condition is and what it allows me to do,’ she said.

Mr Little took over the livestream as Ms Watergate confronted the police officers.

‘There was a couple of things that happened that I wasn’t very happy with, one being that I was detained under no law. I was detained because I did not provide my personal details,” she said.

“I want to hand that over and make sure that my name is removed from your records.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews earlier slammed anyone trying to dodge the public health directives around wearing masks and pushing coronavirus theories.

“People can judge for themselves the efficacy, the credibility of people who are running those sort of keyboard warrior campaigns,” Mr Andrews said.

“Seriously, one more comment about human rights. It is about human life.”

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Couple fined, ordered to attend court over quarantine breach

A couple who filmed themselves refusing coronavirus compliance checks from police have been slapped with fines and ordered to attend court.

The man and woman, from Kiama on the south coast of NSW, posted a video to Facebook of themselves berating a police officer who was trying to conduct a compliance check after they’d returned from Victoria.

The video showed the 36-year-old man and 37-year-old woman refusing to open the door for the officer and asking to see his “business card” and his “insurance policy”.

When the officer questioned why he would need to provide that, the man replies: “We’re going to go after you for trespassing on our lot”.

The police officer then tells them that they can make a complaint to their local station, but the male says: “I don’t want to complain to the police station, I want to complain to you.”

The male occupant then tells the police officer: “I‘m going to go after you personally. Not the NSW Police”.

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates

RELATED: Anti-masker confronts cops after fine

In a statement, Lake Illawarra Police said the couple returned to NSW from Victoria on July 12 with their two children and were made aware of their requirements to self-isolate for 14 days at home.

Police conducted compliance checks at the Kiama address on July 14, July 15 and July 21 and provided information about self-isolation requirements on each occasion.

It’s alleged the couple, who were required to remain at their home with their two children until July 26, left the home on several occasions between July 20 and July 22.

The matter was reported to police and an investigation was commenced.

Following inquiries, police confirmed the couple had each been fined $1000 and the man was ordered to attend court on September 23 for failing to comply with public health directions.

NSW Police issued a statement after the video surfaced, explaining the officer had been acting as“part of proactive compliance operations” to check the occupants were fulfilling ”self-isolation requirements”.

“The officer announced his office to the occupants of the home – a 36-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman – who refused to provide details or respond to COVID-compliance questions,” a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

“After numerous failed attempts to obtain basic information, the officer left the home and reported the incident to his supervisor.

“Police will continue to conduct proactive visits to homes and businesses throughout the Illawarra – and across the state – to ensure compliance with all orders under the Public Health Act.”

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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne woman heading to catch some waves among 61 fined on Tuesday

Wyndham Police issued three COVID-19 infringement notices to a group of friends who were found smoking a shisha in a public toilet.

Wyndham Police issued three COVID-19 infringement notices to a group of friends who were found smoking a shisha in a public toilet. Credit:Eyewatch Wyndham Police/Facebook

On Monday, police in Wyndham were tipped off by a member of a public about a breach of the coronavirus restrictions in Point Cook.

Officers found a group of friends smoking a shisha pipe in a public toilet.

Fines were issued to three people for flouting COVID-19 directions.

From midnight on Wednesday, police will also be handing out fines of $200 to anyone not wearing a mask when practical.

Police on the Mornington Peninsula and in Frankston said on Wednesday they will be “especially active” over the next few weeks as they enforce the Chief Health Officer’s directives, including random and static vehicle checkpoints.

Police checked 20,246 vehicles at the checkpoints and conducted 4984 spot checks on people at homes, businesses and public places across the state.

Police from Frankston and Mornington Peninsula doing random vehicle checks on Wednesday.

Police from Frankston and Mornington Peninsula doing random vehicle checks on Wednesday. Credit:Eyewatch Mornington Peninsula Police Service Area/Facebook

A total of seven officers from Frankston police station have tested positive to COVID-19 after a further three received positive test results in the past few days.

Of the seven, two are members of the Transit and Public Safety Command.


An additional officer at Carrum Downs police station has also tested positive. A police spokeswoman said Frankston police station will now be closed for the short term with counter service available at Mornington police station.

Carrum Downs police station reception remains closed to limit unnecessary face-to-face contact with the general public. Anyone who needs help from Carrum Downs police should use the Police Assistance Line (131 444) or the force’s online reporting service.

“The community can be assured that service delivery will remain unaffected during this time, with resources to be used from other locations where needed,” the spokeswoman said.

“Victoria Police’s priority first and foremost is to ensure the safety of its people and the community.”

In recent days there have been positive cases detected among police at the Broadmeadows, Werribee and 313 Spencer Street stations.

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Jofra Archer fined but allowed to play England’s next Test against West Indies after coronavirus breach

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been fined and given an official warning for breaching the team’s biosecurity protocols, but is free to play the third Test against the West Indies.

Both teams are under strict restrictions to allow the series to go ahead safely.

Archer breached the measures when he stopped at his house during the drive from Southampton to Manchester between Tests.

He came into contact with a person outside the teams’ bubble at the house and was dropped for the second Test, announcing the decision hours before the start of the match at Old Trafford on Thursday.

“Following a disciplinary hearing held on Friday evening … Archer has been fined an undisclosed amount and received an official written warning after admitting to breaching the team’s bio-secure protocols on Monday 13 July when he made an unauthorised visit to his home in Hove,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said.

ECB director of cricket Ashley Giles said Archer’s mistake could have cost the board “tens of millions” of pounds but England vice-captain Ben Stokes said the team would be there to support the player.

Giles headed Archer’s disciplinary hearing, which was also attended by the player’s agent and a representative from the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

Barbados-born Archer will remain in self-isolation for five days and will undergo two COVID-19 tests, which must be negative before his isolation is lifted.

The 25-year-old is expected to rejoin the England squad on Tuesday ahead of the third and final Test starting on Friday, also at Old Trafford.

Archer said he was “extremely sorry” for his actions, but the team is managing alright without him so far, with twin tons from opener Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes leading the side to a declaration on 9-469.

The West Indies were 1-32 in reply at the end of day two before day three was completely rained out.

The tourists won the first Test by four wickets.


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