Outrage as THIRD of arrivals reveal themselves as visitors – despite 40,000 Australians stranded abroad
Outrage as it was revealed that a THIRD of international arrivals are visitors – though 40,000 Australians are still stranded abroad, with thousands seen as vulnerable
- Just under 11,000 of the 35,000 arrivals in Australia in December were ‘visitors’
- 39,000 Australians have asked for official government help to return home
- An estimated 5,000 of these Australians are assessed as ‘vulnerable’
Just under 11,000 visitors secured flights to Australia in December despite the fact that 39,000 residents were still stranded abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Passengers who checked “visitor” on their entry card accounted for just under a third of the 35,000 arrivals in December, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Of the 10,640 inbound passengers who reported visiting the country this month, 2,480 travelers were Australian expatriates living abroad.
Many of them would return briefly for Christmas holidays or to see family.
39,000 Australian residents stranded abroad due to limited flights and cancellations due to Covid pandemic
Many people with economy class tickets were frustrated after seeing airlines continually cancel their seats on their way home
New South Wales received 5,450 visitors, while Victoria welcomed 1,560.
DFAT figures show that 39,000 Australians requested official assistance to return home and 5,000 of them were vulnerable.
Passengers with business and first class tickets can re-enter Australia while many of those with economy class tickets are disappointed as airlines are continually canceling their seats, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“The government is prioritizing facilitated flights where the need is greatest based on registrations of vulnerable Australians and the availability of commercial flight options,” a federal government spokesperson said. .
He added that the government was working to bring Australians home and that DFAT had helped more than 41,000 Australians return home since March 2020, including more than 15,000 people on 109 special flights.
Just under 3,000 were permanent arrivals – mostly migrants with permanent visas and also Australian citizens born abroad and New Zealanders with the right to live in Australia.
Arriving travelers paid $ 3,000 for an adult over 18 quarantined at the hotel, then $ 1,000 for each additional adult, plus $ 500 for children.
A passenger wearing a face shield and mask walks towards a hotel quarantine bus after arriving from a Hong Kong-Sydney flight
States agreed to share the overall costs of the quarantine, and Victoria agreed to pay NSW $ 34.3 million to cover the cost of quarantining the Victorians.
Queensland has refused to pay additional fees until the federal government approves a new quarantine facility at Toowoomba.
Meanwhile, Labor Party immigration spokesman Andrew Giles accused the government of failing to act on an earlier expert report on the national quarantine.
A passenger arrives in Sydney after an Air New Zealand flight lands in Sydney
“We should not pit an Australian against an Australian for the chance to return home during this pandemic,” said Mr Giles.
“It’s not fair to so many Australian families who have struggled to find ways to secure seats on a return flight.”
“If Scott Morrison had taken Jane Halton’s expert advice to establish a safe, fair and sustainable national quarantine system and kept his promise and brought the stranded Australians home by Christmas, we wouldn’t be in this mess. “