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Police to beef up patrols

Augusta Margaret River Times

Shire rangers will be supported by local police when necessary as enforcement of social distancing requirements comes into effect.

There were already widespread concerns about people ignoring tough new restrictions this week after images of congested local surf break carparks appeared online.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown said WA Police were gauging the availability of emergency service volunteers to help with road monitoring after regional checkpoints were set in place on Wednesday.

“The Shire supports the subscription of individual members to assist with roads should they self-nominate, but we will not be requiring anyone to fulfil this role,” she said.

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“Shire rangers are conducting daily patrols at popular beach carparks.

“Whilst rangers do not have the authority to issue fines, we are approaching any groups that are congregating, and reminding people of social distancing and public gathering rules.”

Shire acting sustainable development director Nick Logan said rangers had already seen double the number of infringements and warnings issued to illegal campers during summer, before the pandemic.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 on WA, rangers adopted a compassionate approach to support and assist travellers move on, return home, or find appropriate accommodation,” he said.

“Rangers will be continuing to ensure compliance to requirements in the interest of community safety.

“Travellers who are still seeking accommodation at this time can contact the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association for a list of available holiday accommodation.”

The Shire also recommended new Facebook group Share the Love to help travellers.

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