Australians stranded overseas may have a much harder time getting back home in coming weeks, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that Australia will cut the number of international flights carrying returning Australians by just over half across all airports. The prime minister made the announcement on Friday after a national cabinet meeting and added the reduction would come into effect on Monday.
“The decision that we took to reduce the number of returned travellers to Australia at this time was to ensure that we could put our focus on the resources needed to do the testing and tracing and not have to have resources diverted to other tasks,” he said.
“We will review that as the weeks go by but for now, that is where we have reduced it. It is a reduction of over 4,000 people coming each week and that is spread across those ports of entry and that will take effect from Monday.”
Morrison also added that all states and territories will be moving towards charging for quarantine.
“There is also a view across the National Cabinet that they are all effectively moving to a charging system for the hotel quarantine that is in place for those returning businesses,” he said.
“Some states already have it, other states are moving towards that, and I will leave that to them to make their announcements at the appropriate time and where possible, we will seek to have some sort of national uniformity across those pricings and we are sharing that information is with the states and territories.”
There will also be a national review of hotel quarantine. The hotel quarantine review will be conducted by former secretary of the federal Health Department, Jane Halton.
“She will be undertaking that review working with states and territories and that again is an important step in providing reassurances, making sure that as we look into each of these states and territories and how they are managing the quarantine, and as our country opens up again, with the exception of Victoria, we can make sure we have even greater confidence in those quarantine arrangements as they have been put in place,” Morrison said.