Evidence gathered by a forestry company after an illegal three-day rave party that began on New Year’s Eve has resulted in a French national being deported by Australian Border Force (ABF).
- Australian Border Force deported a 29-year-old Frenchman on Tuesday
- HQPlantations provided photos and information about the rave to authorities
- The company said the illegal party was one of many that had been held on its land
The 29-year-old man, in Australia on a working holiday visa, was deported for his role in the illegal party, which attracted more than 1,000 people to Gallangowan State Forest, west of Noosa, between December 31 and January 2.
HQPlantations staff discovered the party the following day, taking photos to document the mess left behind and provide police with evidence about the organisers.
A company spokesperson said the gathering was one of many that had been held in recent years on its land, which stretched from the Glasshouse Mountains to Kuranda.
The spokesperson said there had been an increase in noise complaints, hooning, illegal campfires, unburied faeces, litter, as well as lost and disorientated people.
“Sometimes they cut down our trees to create a bigger area or seating, they erect stages, leave waste behind and even go to the toilet on the plantation,” the spokesperson said.
ABF Acting Commander for Enforcement Steven Darby said the man’s visa was cancelled and he was escorted onto a flight on Tuesday.
“The ABF will not tolerate non-citizens who choose to engage in criminal activity, particularly with respect to COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.
“We hope this sends a strong message to others who think they can arrange or participate in reckless activities of this kind.”
The party was held just a week before Brisbane was placed into lockdown after the UK strain of COVID-19 was contracted by a hotel cleaner.
No other cases of community transmission were reported during the lockdown.
Queensland police have confirmed the illegal rave was also being investigated by the COVID Command under Taskforce Lynette.
ABF said under the Migration Act 1958, anyone deemed a risk to the health, safety or good order of the community could be removed from Australia.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said organisers and attendees at illegal gatherings in state forests could be charged with a range of offences.
The service urged anyone who became aware of an illegal gathering in forests to report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Minister issues warning after several visas cancelled
The French national was one of several temporary visa holders to be deported from Australia and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke warned that number could grow.
In a statement provided to the ABC, Mr Hawke said temporary vias holders that ignore health orders would have their visa cancelled.
“People who are guests in our country have to do the right thing during the pandemic, just as Australians must,” he said.
Mr Hawke first issued the warning last month, after a large party was held on Christmas Day in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Operation Baritone was established to ensure that people on visas comply with government regulations for mandatory quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing.
Since its introduction in May, Acting Commander Darby said a number of people had been issued warnings or had been sent home.
“As a result of this operation, there have been 24 field enforcement activities, 335 warnings issued, 15 notices of intention to consider visa cancellation and eight cancelled visas,” he said.