Australia

A $3,000 bill for NSW hotel quarantine is 'fair', Gladys Berejiklian says

Returning overseas travellers are ushered into Sydney's InterContinental Hotel for the beginning of their 14-day imposed quarantine in March. Source: AAP

Slugging returning Australians up to $3,000 each to cover the cost of their hotel quarantine is fair given they have had three or four months to make plans, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.

The New South Wales taxpayer will no longer foot the entire bill for returning Australians in hotel quarantine, with arrivals to be charged up to $3,000 each.

From Saturday 18 July, all arrivals on tickets bought from midnight on Monday will be charged.

The first adult in each travelling party will be charged $3,000, subsequent adults will be billed $1,000 and each child will be charged $500, while kids under three will continue to be free.

It means a family of two adults and three school-aged kids could face a $5,500 bill.

"This, we believe, is fair," Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday.

"Australian residents overseas have had three or four months to think about what they want to do ... to make decisions about what is best for them."

The fee, payable within 30 days of the end of the fortnight stay, will cover all meals.

Exemptions will be permitted in some circumstances and hardship arrangements will be available.

Those who fly in on tickets bought before midnight on Monday will still need to stay in quarantine for two weeks and will need to prove when they purchased their ticket.

Though NSW has now restricted the number of daily arrivals to 450, Ms Berejiklian said more than 35,000 people had been processed in hotel quarantine since 29 March at a cost of $65 million.

Stuart Ayres, the NSW minister responsible for hotel quarantine, said housing large numbers of international travellers returning to Australia posed a major logistical challenge.

"(It) has been our frontline in the defence against COVID 19," he told reporters on Sunday.

"We need to make sure that hotel (policy) stays on a sustainable footing."

What are other states doing?

NSW joins neighbouring Queensland and the Northern Territory in charging for quarantined travellers.

The Northern Territory has been charging quarantined arrivals $2,500 per fortnight since 4 April, although reduced fees are available for those on lower incomes.

From 1 July, quarantined arrivals in Queensland were charged $2,800 a fortnight for one adult, $3,710 for two adults and $4,620 for a family of four.

From 17 July, Western Australia will also begin to bill international travellers for their hotel stays while South Australia is expected to announce quarantine charges this week.

The ACT currently underwrites the costs of hotel quarantine while Victoria is at present diverting all international flights.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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