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NSW premier ‘seriously considering’ charging return travellers for quarantine

NSW premier ‘seriously considering’ charging return travellers for quarantine

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned that her government is “seriously considering” charging returning travellers for hotel quarantine.

NSW premier ‘seriously considering’ charging return travellers for quarantine

When asked in a press conference whether it was time for Australians overseas to cough up if they come back home, Berejiklian told reporters it was “an extremely valid question”.

“I want to make clear that the NSW Government is seriously considering that,” she said.

Berejiklian added that she would welcome a lowering of the cap on the number of people arriving in Australia, saying she was “looking forward to that discussion tomorrow at National Cabinet”.

With Australians travelling overseas urged to return home in March, the premier said people who were still abroad have been given “plenty of time” to return home.

“NSW has done more than double what any state has,” she said. “We’ve welcomed back between 30,000 and 35,000 Aussies going back to their home states, and obviously they’ve had considerable time to consider their options to this point in time, so the NSW Government is considering our position regarding that.”

Regarding whether the government would charge people returning from Victoria for mandatory hotel quarantine, the premier said the focus would be on “charging overseas visitors rather than charging NSW residents”.

I won’t be charging NSW residents ahead of charging those overseas returning travellers who have had plenty of time to get back to Australia,” she said.

Berejiklian noted that of the 30,000-35,000 people NSW had welcomed back to Australia during the pandemic, around two-thirds of that number were NSW residents.

The premier said she was “proud of the work” her government had done in regards to quarantine but noted it “does take up a lot of resources”.

“It’s high-risk and for that reason, I would welcome the Australian Government reducing the daily cap around the nation and certainly that would mean that we could put resources elsewhere,” she said.

It comes after Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australians returning home could face delays due to a review of Australia’s quarantine system, with a National Cabinet meeting on Friday set to consider limiting arrivals to ease pressure on hotel quarantine.

Some 70,000 people have gone through Australia’s compulsory hotel quarantine system since it was put in place on 27 March.

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