Helping Australians return home

The Australian Government continues to work tirelessly to ensure we get as many Australians home by Christmas as possible.

Almost 426,600 Australian citizens and Permanent Residents have travelled into Australia since the Government recommended that people reconsider the need to travel abroad on 13 March 2020.

The process to help re-book passengers travelling to Sydney from San Francisco began last night with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications working speedily with the airline to facilitate exactly that.

This process was well under way by this morning and contrary to claims made by Labor today, had nothing to do with their Tweets. Because this plane did not take off or arrive, the caps allocated for that flight have rolled over so those passengers will be able quarantine without issue.

What Australians expect as we navigate our nation’s response to this global pandemic is constructive engagement by all politicians – not opportunistic political point-scoring.

Australians will rightfully be disappointed by the Labor Party’s willingness to exploit difficult circumstances being faced by Australians overseas – circumstances the Government has been working to assist with since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.

At the request of State and Territory Governments, to help shore up the integrity of hotel-quarantine systems in those jurisdictions, the National Cabinet implemented flight caps earlier this year. That measure has been necessary and has played a substantial role in Australia’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At many meetings of the National Cabinet, the Australian Government has sought to safely increase those cap numbers to help get more Australians home and we continue to partner with all States and Territories to that end. Following Jane Halton’s review and recommendations on quarantine arrangements, the Commonwealth has established the Howard Springs facility to boost quarantine spaces and is looking to double its capacity.

We will keep working to bring as many Australians home by Christmas as possible, building on the successful return of more than 400,000 Australians since March.

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