In the time since Australia closed its borders to non-citizens, returning travellers have been put up in a hotel to serve their 14-day quarantine period. But anyone returning to NSW will soon be forced to foot their own bill for the staycation.
Announcing the changes today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed that anyone returning after 12:01am on Saturday, July 18 will need to fork out $3,000 for their stay.
In terms of a family group, any additional adult will be charged $1,000, with children to cost $500 a pop and kids under 3 to remain free.
“NSW is the gateway to Australia, with more than 35,000 Australians citizens and permanent residents returning from overseas processed through our hotel quarantine system since 29 March 2020,” said Berejiklian.
“The NSW taxpayers have footed much of the bill so far, with more than $65 million spent on quarantine accommodation to house international travellers returning to Australia.
“Australian residents have been given plenty of time to return home – and we feel it is only fair that they cover some of the costs of their hotel accommodation.”
Anyone who has already purchased their flights prior to 11:59pm on Sunday, July 12 will be excluded from the hotel quarantine charges.
Travellers will receive an invoice within 30 days of leaving quarantine, with daily meals to be included, and security, transport and logistics to continue being funded by the NSW Government.
Hardship arrangements will be available, but the announcement today didn’t go into detail about how they will take place when needed.
“Over the past few weeks, the majority of new COVID-19 cases in NSW have come from overseas travellers in hotel quarantine,” added MP Stuart Ayers, who has been responsible for hotel quarantine in NSW.
“Housing large numbers of international travellers returning to Australia posed a major logistical challenge, however it’s one that has been successfully managed.
“NSW Police, NSW Health officials and the accommodation industry will continue to work together to provide the nation’s leading hotel quarantine system.”
It’s a double blow for Aussies planning on heading home from living overseas soon, after Scott Morrison said Australia will halve the number of international arrivals allowed into the country.
Morrison said the decision was made to put “the national interest … and the health of Australia and Australians first”.
The news follows a continued spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria, where people have been told to wear masks whenever leaving home.