The 100-man unit arrived in the Sunshine state despite a two-week layoff for all cross-state arrivals because the quarantine in Queensland was ‘full’.
About 100 NRL partners, families and officials have arrived in Queensland and will be quarantined at the hotel for 14 days, despite the government-imposed pause on new arrivals.
The chartered plane landed in Brisbane from Sydney on Monday, days after the Palaszczuk government announced a two-week quarantine stop at the hotel to allow for a new system to be developed.
The unit has been granted an exemption to travel to Queensland by Chief Health Officer Janet Young, and they are staying at an NRL-designated hotel not operated by Queensland Health.
A separate and strict quarantine management plan has been approved by Dr. Young and does not use state resources.
But the move has angered thousands of Queenslanders who are stranded in hot states.
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Golchowski said he understood the frustration, but said it was completely separate from the state-run quarantine.
“The only role that Queensland Police plays in quarantining the NRL is dealing with people at the airport. Then they go into a self-financed arrangement, and they have to convince Dr Young that they can do it,” he told ABC Radio.
“We intervene if someone deliberately did the wrong thing, but the police are not involved in the security process.
“I can understand the frustration, this is a difficult time for our community.
“But, no one from Queensland or a returning Australian misses the opportunity to get a place because of the arrangements with the NRL.”
Currently, people seeking entry to Queensland from NSW, ACT and Victoria cannot do so unless they have a humanitarian exemption.
It comes as the Palaszczuk government is under fire for allowing Australian and Indian cricketers into the state for quarantine ahead of the women’s series.
But Anastasia Pallaschuk said the cricketers, presumably the NRL squad, were “out of cover”.
“I didn’t grant the waivers, the health official did,” she said.
Last week, she said she knew the temporary halt to arrivals across states from hotspots would inconvenience people, but that it was essential to “keep Queenslanders safe”.
“Queensland is loved to death,” Ms Palaszczuk said last Wednesday.
“We simply don’t have a room at the moment.”
The stoppage was intended to help authorities get rid of more than 5,000 people in quarantine, and to allow the development of a new system, so that arrivals across states are given a fixed day to reach Queensland.
Ms Palaszczuk said: “What I am saying to Queenslanders who are in other parts of the country and want to go home, we are doing everything we can to look for alternative accommodation to ensure you can go home safely.”
“We’re looking closely in South Australia to see what’s going on with their home quarantines as well.”