Australian state governments agree to welcome more Australians stranded overseas

Passengers walk with their luggage towards departure gates at Sydney International Airport in Australia, October 25, 2017. Picture taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Steven Saphore/Files

On Wednesday, 16th September, 2020, Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack requested state and territory leaders to increase Australia’s current cap of 4,000 arrivals per week to 6,000.

New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia were requested to allow an additional 500 incoming passengers each week.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “the decision has been made” to allow an additional 2,000 people into Australia from next Friday.

PM Morrison on Friday said the cap would be raised gradually as Queensland and Western Australia asked for more time to boost their quarantine facilities.

According to the PM, NSW will take an additional 500 by Monday week (September 28). Queensland and Western Australia will take an additional 200 from the same week. Queensland will then accept 300 extra per week on top of that from October 5, followed by Western Australia doing the same on October 12.

Meanwhile, South Australia has already agreed to boost its capacity by 360 each week, and discussions are continuing with other jurisdictions.

According to reports, an estimated 25,000 Australians who are currently overseas have expressed a desire to return home. The current cap of 4,000 arrivals per week has placed several stranded Australians in a difficult situation, and have been requesting the government to allow them in.

Australia has very tight border security in place to protect the nation against Covid-19. They are only allowing citizens and Permanent Residents to enter the country, and all arrivals have to quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in one’s port of arrival.

Overseas arrivals landing in QLD, NSW, SA, NT and WA have to foot in the cost of their hotel quarantine fees. Victoria, which is currently dealing with a community outbreak of Covid-19 is not taking any overseas returnee at the moment.