Queensland has agreed to take in another 500 returning Australian travellers per week after an agreement was reached at National Cabinet.
- Queensland will house 1,000 returning overseas travellers each week in hotel quarantine by early October
- Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the situation for people stranded abroad as “heartbreaking”
- Brisbane, Cairns and Gladstone have been flagged as quarantine hubs
The Sunshine State has signed on to gradually increase its capacity of international travellers over the next fortnight to a total of 1,000 people per week by early October.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had been touched by the stories of Queenslanders stranded overseas and struggling to get home.
“This is heartbreaking to hear the stories of people trapped overseas — Queenslanders trapped overseas,” she said.
“We know that the virus is spreading in some of these countries.
“I understand the desperation of mums and dads wanting their kids to come home.”
The first phase of the increased intake would see another 200 people accepted per week by November 27, with that number increased to 500 people by October 4.
It would bring the total capacity to 1,000 passengers accepted into Queensland each week.
Returning overseas travellers would still be required to hotel quarantine at their own expense for 14 days.
But the Premier said Queensland would have to bear some increased cost through mandatory testing and other required health responses.
Ms Palaszczuk said she would be speaking with hotels in Brisbane, Cairns and Gladstone to see what regions could take in more travellers.
‘We have to get this right’
“The next week gives us time to speak to hotel chains out there,” the Premier said.
“We know the Cairns economy has been doing it quite tough.”
The responsibility for enforcing quarantine restrictions at hotels would be shared between Queensland police and the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Ms Palaszczuk said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had given a commitment to provide additional ADF resources.
“We have to get this right,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“No-one wants to see what’s happened in Victoria happen anywhere else.
“We’ve got a large number of cases happening overseas where COVID is more prevalent, so there is a higher risk.”