Scott Morrison reveals when strict travel caps which have left 25,000 Australians stranded overseas will be lifted
Scott Morrison has revealed arrival caps preventing Australians from coming home will be increased in stages.
From 28 September New South Wales will take an extra 500 people per week and Queensland and Western Australia will take an extra 200 per week.
On 4 October Queensland will take an extra 300 per week and on 11 October WA will accept an extra 300.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (centre) and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor (left) meet steel workers in the control room during a visit to BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla, Wollongong, New South Wales on Thursday
The new cap numbers were agreed at a National Cabinet meeting on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the caps are being increased steadily because the states asked for time to prepare their hotel quarantine systems.
He has offered extra ADF troops to enforce quarantine to help prevent the virus escaping as happened in Melbourne in late May.
‘I want to enable as many Australians to get home as soon as possible and I want to do that safely and I want to do that in as constructive a way as we can,’ he said.
Some 25,000 Australians are stranded overseas, unable to get a flight home because of the arrival caps which were introduced in July.
About 3,500 of them are considered medically or financially vulnerable.
The prime minister also said he was prepared to use a federal facility at Howard Springs near Darwin to quarantine returned travellers if any evacuation flights were required.
‘Howard Springs is a facility that we will be able to use to deal with those type of evacuation charters, if they become necessary. Now, at present, we don’t have any of those currently planned,’ he said.
Labor has been urging Mr Morrison to pay for charter flights to bring vulnerable Aussies home since last week.
Sheree Richardson, from Perth, and her three young children were forced to sleep on the floor of London’s Heathrow airport for three days after being bumped from flights because of coronavirus travel caps
Australians trying to get home have said they were forced to buy business class tickets on planes with just 30 passengers. Here a child plays in the completely empty economy section
Caps on overseas arrivals
Sydney – limit of 350 passenger arrivals per day;
Perth – limit of 525 passenger arrivals per week;
Brisbane – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;
Adelaide – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;
Canberra, Darwin – passenger limits on each flight to be discussed with jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis;
Hobart – no international flights
Melbourne – International flights suspended