Wednesday, 26 August 2020
Statements by Members
Moore Electorate: COVID-19
I wish to draw the attention of parliament to the many Australian citizens, permanent residents and persons holding valid visas for entry who are excluded from returning to Australia due to the current international travel restrictions. Maintaining strong border controls is absolutely necessary in the current coronavirus pandemic to protect the Australian homeland and safeguard the health of all our citizens by minimising the spread of infection. A number of constituents have contacted my office to request assistance with their applications to enter Australia for themselves or on behalf of family members in a wide range of circumstances.
Currently, long delays are being experienced in the process of applying for re-entry, placing our people and their families in genuine hardship, with many deserving cases having considerable merit and relating to people in dire circumstances. Some of the people stranded overseas are in countries experiencing civil unrest and with limited access to financial resources to sustain themselves for extended periods overseas. They're unable to access accommodation and essential services, placing their lives in danger. The cases include family reunions in circumstances of needing to care for family members suffering from illnesses or of providing support for parents in old age and for the purpose of marriage. Other cases relate to the employment of workers with highly specialised technical skills or expatriate Australians returning from postings overseas. The Moore electorate is home to a large proportion of residents who were born overseas or have family members based around the globe. This means international travel restrictions are having a major impact on many families in my constituency.
On behalf of my constituents I call upon the government to review the resource allocation available for processing the applications of Australians seeking to return home in a more timely manner and working cooperatively with the states to implement the necessary quarantine arrangements to safely facilitate the arrivals. If necessary, more inbound flights can be organised and additional quarantine hotels can be designated with around-the-clock security to ensure that the arrivals comply with the quarantine requirements. Let us do what is necessary to bring our fellow Australians home to safety as soon as possible and in an orderly manner.