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One third of arrivals visitors - although 40,000 Australians stranded

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 27/02/2021 Peter Vincent For Daily Mail Australia
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Just under 11,000 visitors secured flights to Australia in December despite 39,000 residents being still stranded overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Passengers who ticked 'visitor' on their entry card accounted for just under a third of the 35,000 arrivals in December, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures have showed. 

Of the 10,640 incoming passengers who said they were visiting the country that month, 2,480 travellers were Australian expats living overseas.

Many of them were returning briefly for a Christmas holiday or to see family.

a group of people standing in a room: 39,000 Australian residents remain stranded overseas because of limited flights and cancellations due to the Covid pandemic © Provided by Daily Mail 39,000 Australian residents remain stranded overseas because of limited flights and cancellations due to the Covid pandemic

New South Wales took in 5,450 visitors, while Victoria had 1,560. 

Figures from DFAT show 39,000 Australians have requested official help to return home and 5,000 of those were vulnerable.

Passengers with business and first class tickets can get back to Australia while many those with economy tickets are left disappointed as airlines continually cancel their seats, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

'The government prioritises facilitated flights where the need is the greatest based on registrations of Australians in vulnerable situations and the availability of commercial flight options,' a Federal government spokesperson said.

He added the government was working to bring Australians home and DFAT had helped more than 41,000 Australian get home since March 2020, including over 15,000 people on 109 special flights. 

Just under 3,000 were permanent arrivals - mostly migrants with permanent visas and also Australian citizens born abroad and New Zealanders with the right to live in Australia.

Arriving travellers paid $3,000 for one adult aged over 18 in hotel quarantine, and then $1,000 for each extra adults, plus $500 for children. 

a man with a helmet on: A passenger wearing a face shield and mask walks to a hotel quarantine bus after arriving from a Hong Kong to Sydney flight © Provided by Daily Mail A passenger wearing a face shield and mask walks to a hotel quarantine bus after arriving from a Hong Kong to Sydney flight

The states agreed to share the overall costs of quarantining and Victoria agreed to pay NSW $34.3 million to cover the price of quarantining Victorians. 

Queensland has refused to pay additional costs until the Federal Government approves a new quarantine facility at Toowoomba.

Meanwhile, Labor's spokesperson for immigration Andrew Giles accused the government of not acting on an earlier expert report into national quarantine.

graphical user interface: A passenger arrives at Sydney after an Air New Zealand flight lands at Sydney © Provided by Daily Mail A passenger arrives at Sydney after an Air New Zealand flight lands at Sydney

″We should not be pitting Australian against Australian for the chance to get home during this pandemic,' Mr Giles said.

″It's not fair on so many Australian families who have struggled to find the means to secure seats on a flight home.'

'If Scott Morrison had followed Jane Halton's expert advice to establish a safe, equitable and sustainable national quarantine system and kept his promise and gotten the stranded Aussies home by Christmas, we wouldn't be in this mess.'

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