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If it is safe to bring in a 1200 strong tennis entourage, it is safe to allow stranded Aussies home

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Fast facts

  • Pre-coronavirus, up to a million Australians were residing overseas; working, studying & operating businesses.
  • Airline industry bodies estimate up to 100,000 Australians are still stranded abroad. Most are holding cancelled tickets.
  • As of February 2021 around 40,000 Australians are registered with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading (DFAT) seeking urgent return.
  • NSW Health reports around 1% of arrivals test positive to coronavirus.
  • As of March 2021 Australia’s arrival caps are at the same inadequate levels they were in October 2020, at less than 25,000 passengers per month.
  • There is no queue. Up to 25% of international arrivals since the travel ban have been foreign nationals on temporary visas, including sports entourages, celebrities, foreign military personnel, farm workers to take low paid jobs, and business people.
  • April through December 2020 the Australian government issued over 100,000 travel ban exemptions for Australian citizens & permanent residents to exit on essential travel. Those are difficult to get and the majority of applications are denied, yet approximately 15,000 exit per month on essential travel.
  • Instead of expanding quarantine capacity to ensure those already stranded and those who left on exemptions could get back, plus allow entry to valid visa holders, the Australian government drastically cut quarantine places. Australia’s state and federal governments have no plan on the horizon to expand quarantine. The stranded Aussies crisis is therefore guaranteed to get worse.
  • Many stranded Aussies are stranded onshore, unable to reunite with family or partners. Over 6 million Australians were born overseas and nearly half of all Australians are have at least one parent who was born overseas.
  • In 2019, over a million Australian citizens and permanent residents would depart the country per month.
  • Taiwan and New Zealand have more than twice Australia’s current quarantine capacity per capita. Both countries have protected their populations from coronavirus while ensuring their citizens and residents could continue to enter and leave on essential travel.
  • Taiwan’s population is almost two million less than Australia’s. Between April 2020 and January 2021 Taiwan received over 443,000 international arrivals. Australia received only 238,000 during that period. Taiwan’s coronavirus death toll is 1% of Australia’s.
  • A sustainable arrivals cap for Australia is 60,000 per month to bring Australia to similar capacity as that of Taiwan & NZ.
  • Flights are limited under the arrivals caps to 30 – 50 passengers each (around 10 – 15% of usual capacity).
  • Ticket prices into Australia are commonly 10 – 15 times the usual price of an economy ticket and twice or several times more than the usual price of business or first class. Tickets on repatriation flights from London start at $2,200.
  • Foreign airlines determine who enters the country, favouring passengers able to pay for business or first class seats.
  • The state of Victoria, with 26% of Australia’s population, is taking close to zero international arrivals.
  • New Zealand has a population that is nearly two million less than Victoria, yet continues to process around 12,000 international arrivals per month through its hotel quarantine system.
  • Victorian taxpayers continue to fully fund a hotel quarantine system that has not received arrivals for a total of six months of the past year, at a cost of $377m.
  • World Health Organisation advice on new coronavirus strains recommends that essential travel, including repatriation, should be facilitated, not restricted. 
Common misconceptions

Answers to FAQs

The official numbers 

Quantifying a political failure

World leading quarantine systems

Other countries show that effective public health measures are not incompatible with human rights

The official case for home-based quarantine

Experts have recommended a real quarantine solution to Australian governments

Why not build a national facility?

A pragmatic look at facility quarantine in Australia

A large scale human rights breach

No other country has locked its citizens out for as long as Australia has

The politics of the flight caps – a murky zone

Confusing the issues around governmental responsibility is not helping stranded Aussies

Stranded Aussies Action Plan

A letter to political representatives that includes an action plan